Golf Cart Accidents in Florida: More Dangerous and Much More Common Than Most People Would Expect
Florida is a retiree’s paradise for many reasons. With its abundant sunshine, warm climate, thousands of people in their golden years with whom to socialize and interact, more golf courses than any other state and hundreds of miles of beaches, Florida is a haven for senior citizens. However, many times those of that age like to live in retirement communities or other places where the use of cars may be frowned upon or even completely illegal in favor of golf carts. More and more people are purchasing street legal golf carts that are allowed on roads up to 35 MPH. While many of these communities have laws, which give priority on the roads to golf carts, accidents involving golf carts are a common occurrence all over the Sunshine State. For instance, golf cart accidents are even a common occurrence in South Florida, where a February accident occurred in Stuart resulted in injuries to a motorist in a golf cart when his golf cart was stuck by a motor vehicle, while a passenger in a golf cart in Melbourne was killed in October 2016 when the golf cart she was riding in rolled down an embankment into a canal. Deaths often occur as a result of golf cart accidents, particularly when a motor vehicle is also involved in the accident, such as in an accident in Sumter County in central Florida that resulted in two deaths in February 2016. If you have been the victim of an accident in a golf cart in Florida, you may be entitled to substantial damages, including the costs of the medical treatment for the injuries you suffered, any lost income you experienced, in addition to your pain and suffering.
How Common are Golf Cart Accidents in Florida and Across the County?
Each year, approximately 13,000 golf cart-related accidents occur nationwide that require an emergency room visit by one or more of the accident victims according to statistics from the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission. Further, an article published in the July 2008 issue of the medical publication the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that the rate of injury related to golf cart accidents in the United States rose more than 130 percent from 1990 to 2006. During this period, about 147,000 golf cart-related injuries were reported involving people as old as 96 years old and as young as two months.
Why Can Golf Cart Accidents Be so Dangerous?
Most golf carts lack the same safety features as motor vehicles, such as seat belts. As mentioned in one of the news articles cited above, an interview with Bill Andrews, President of golf cart manufacturer Cart World Golf Cars, highlighted that although normal golf carts have two-wheel braking, turn signals and brake lights, they completely lack seat belts. According to Andrews, this is because golf carts are not engineered for rollover accidents.
In addition, another factor that makes riding in golf carts so dangerous is that motor vehicles often will refuse to yield to golf carts even if they are required to do so by law. Many drivers simply do not take golf carts seriously. This leaves those in a golf cart in a terrible position, as they are incredibly exposed as compared with motorists who are riding in an enclosed motor vehicle.
Damages Available to Those Injured in a Golf Cart Accident in Florida
A victim injured in a golf cart accident in Florida can recover damages for expenses related to medical treatment for his or her injuries, any lost income (both past and future) the victim suffered as a result of the accident, and any other financial losses the victim suffered. This also includes any pain and suffering, both past and future, the victim may have experienced.
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