You may think it’s all fun and games on the golf course, but the fact is that those motorized golf carts are not meant to be driven with reckless abandon – and doing so can lead to serious golf cart accidents. While the State of Florida is a prime golfing territory, it also hosts far too many dangerous golf cart accidents. If someone else’s negligence causes you to be injured in a golf cart accident, make the call to an experienced Florida golf cart lawyer today.
Common Golf Cart Accidents
Golf cart accidents are probably far more common than you realize, and some of the most common causes include:
- Taking overly sharp turns (the laws of physics also apply to golf carts)
- Failing to engage the brake before abandoning the cart (golfers often take a cavalier approach to parking their carts that can ultimately prove dangerous)
- Texting behind the wheel (distracted driving is dangerous no matter what the motorist is driving)
- Impaired driving (if you drink, don’t drive – anything)
- Dangling one’s limbs outside the cart
- Reversing down a hill (golf carts are motor vehicles, and common sense applies)
- Overcrowding the golf cart (golf carts are not clown cars)
- Driving too fast (excess speed is always dangerous)
Liability: It’s Complicated
While determining and proving liability tends to be challenging in every personal injury claim, it can be more so in a golf car accident claim. Consider the following:
- A golf cart is what is known – in the eyes of the law – as a dangerous instrumentality, and this is true whether it is driven on a golf course or on a public street.
- As such, the owner of the golf cart is responsible for any damages caused by the negligence of whoever is driving it (whether on or off the course) – as long as the driver has permission to do so.
- The Supreme Court – no less – finds that there isn’t a motor vehicle out there (including the golf cart) that isn’t dangerous enough to be regulated by the relevant legislature, which includes being subjected to liability imposed by the court.
- Under the doctrine of dangerous instrumentality, the owner of a golf cart is generally responsible for damages caused by the golf cart (as long as the person driving it has permission to do so)
Consider the Possibilities
When it comes to golf carts and liability, there is a lot to consider.
Golf Cart Owned by the Course
If you are injured by a golf cart that is driven by someone who has permission to do so, and that is owned by the golf course you are on, the golf course bears liability for your injuries. However, if you were injured by the driver’s negligence, liability is very likely shared by that negligent driver and by the golf course that owns the cart.
Golf Cart Owned Privately
If, on the other hand, you are injured by a privately owned golf cart that is driven by someone who has permission to do so – whether on a golf course or on a public road – the owner of the golf cart very likely shoulders responsibility. If, however, the driver’s negligence causes you to be injured, both the owner of the cart and the negligent driver (if they are different people) very likely share liability in the matter.
Golf carts that are owned by golf courses are generally insured under their commercial general liability coverage, which covers employees who drive them and covers the course’s strict liability as owner of the carts. A golfer who is driving a course-owned golf cart while on the golf course is very likely covered by his or her homeowner’s insurance policy. However, if that same person is driving his or her privately owned golf cart – either on the course or on an authorized public road – he or she may not be covered by his or her homeowner’s coverage and should purchase a liability policy specific to golf carts in such situations.
In the State of Florida, all the additional rules (and lack thereof) apply to golf carts:
- A driver’s license is not required to drive a golf cart in Florida.
- The only real requirement is that the cart’s operator must be at least 14 years old.
- A golf cart need not be registered with the state, and it doesn’t need to be insured or to have a license tag (the way cars do).
- Golf carts are limited by Florida law to a top speed of 20 miles per hour.
- Golf carts can only be operated on public roads that are specifically designated for such purposes, within certain state parks, and where the law specifically permits them to be – such as within mobile home parks, golf cart communities, and limited additional areas.
- Golf carts may only be driven from dawn to dusk – unless they have the necessary lights, windshield wipers, and other safety features.
- When a motorist heads out on a public road in a golf cart, he or she must obey all the applicable rules of the road. As such, careless driving, speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way, running stop signs, turning improperly, and driving under the influence are all prohibited. Any such offenses may be identified as negligence in the event of an accident and can be enforced against the driver.
It’s Time to Consult with an Experienced Florida Golf Cart Lawyer
The trusted golf cart lawyers at Iscoe Law Firm are proud to offer their impressive legal services throughout Miami, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Fort Lauderdale, and Broward County. Golf cart accidents can be exceptionally serious, and they require the level of serious legal attention we make it our business to afford them. Because obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled is important, we make ourselves available to take your call 24/7 – 365 days a year. For more information about how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 800-800-6500 today.