Every year, about 17,000 golf cart accidents send people to the hospital, according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Owing to its plethora of retirees and golf courses, many of these accidents occur in Florida. In 2018, The Villages—a retirement town of 125,000 residents and 50,000 golf carts about an hour’s drive south of Gainesville—reported 86 golf-cart accidents that led to 63 injuries.
While golf carts do not go very fast, golf cart accidents can still result in serious injuries. With a lack of seatbelts and other safety features, and it does not take much of an impact to throw drivers and passengers from the vehicle during a collision. For children and elderly passengers, these impacts can produce serious medical injuries and even death.
If you have been injured in a golf cart accident, you have rights. Florida law may allow you to sue not only a negligent driver who caused the accident but also the owner of the golf cart, often the country club or golf course, to recover compensation for your medical bills and other expenses. A Gainesville golf cart accident lawyer from Bogin, Munns & Munns will review your case and help you evaluate your legal options.
Contact our offices today at (352) 332-7688 to schedule your free consultation.
Golf Cart Accidents
Florida Statutes 320.01 defines a golf cart as a recreational vehicle for use on a golf course with speeds up to 20 miles per hour. Though golf carts still largely remain on golf courses, many have begun using these vehicles for traveling short distances, such as around their neighborhoods.
They may share sidewalks with bicyclists and pedestrians, and operators often drive them down low-traffic streets in residential areas. They are easy to use and inexpensive to buy, but they do not have nearly the crash rating of modern automobiles. Despite their relatively low speeds, collisions—between golf carts, between a golf cart and a car, or between a golf cart and bicyclist or pedestrian—can have disastrous effects.
To consult with an experienced golf cart accident lawyer serving Gainesville, call 855-686-6752
Negligence in Golf Cart Accident Cases
Lawsuits arising from golf cart accidents usually hinge on the question of whether the defendant or defendants acted negligently. Negligence refers to acts that violate a duty of care toward others, causing harm. Owing a duty of care means that one has an obligation to take certain reasonable steps to ensure the safety of others. For example, this includes following traffic laws while behind the wheel of any vehicle.
When it comes to golf carts, operators owe a duty of care to drive the vehicle safely. The owners of these vehicles also have an obligation to keep up with their maintenance. Actions that may constitute negligence include:
- Overloading the cart with passengers.
- Driving while intoxicated.
- Driving recklessly, such as speeding and taking turns too sharply.
- Operating the cart outside of designated areas.
- Failing to properly maintain or repair the cart.
- Allowing children to operate the cart while unsupervised.
To establish negligence in any personal injury case, you have to prove four elements:
- The defendant(s) owed the plaintiff a duty of care.
- The defendant(s) breached this duty.
- That breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
- Those injuries led directly to the plaintiff’s losses.
As described in Florida Statutes 768.81, Florida assesses responsibility in negligence cases using a comparative fault standard. This means is that being partly to blame for the accident will not disqualify you from you receiving compensation. However, the amount of damages you receive will be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault.
To learn more about how comparative fault can affect your case, contact a Gainesville golf cart accident lawyer from Bogin, Munns & Munns today. You can reach our team by calling (352) 332-7688.
Gainesville Golf Cart Accident Lawyer Near Me 855-686-6752
Damages and Limitations in Golf Cart Accident Cases
Florida does not set limits on the amount of economic damages (i.e., tangible costs such lost wages and medical bills) or non-economic damages (i.e., pain and suffering) you may receive in these types of personal injury cases. Florida Statutes 768.73 does limit the amount of punitive damages available to victims of personal injury.
However, Florida Statutes 768.72 sets a high bar for seeking punitive damages. A defendant must have committed gross negligence for a court to award such a penalty, which is why punitive damages are rare.
Aside from limitations on the damages you can recover, you also need to be aware of time limitations. Every state enforces a statute of limitations on personal injury cases. According to these statutes, you have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit after an accident occurs.
Under Florida Statutes 95.11, you have four years from the date of your golf cart collision to bring a lawsuit against the negligent party. If you are unable to do so, you may forfeit your right to pursuing a court award for your damages.
How a Gainesville Golf Cart Accident Lawyer Can Help
At Bogin, Munns & Munns, we believe that you deserve justice for any injury you suffer as a result of someone else’s negligence. If we represent you, we will work to build a solid case and recover compensation on your behalf.
If you are injured by a golf cart operator on a golf course or on a sidewalk, the law says that the operator, as well as the owner of the vehicle, may be liable. You deserve compensation for any medical bills and other losses that resulted from the accident.
Our firm offers free consultations to victims of negligence. Call the office of Bogin, Munns & Munns today at (352) 332-7688 to learn more.