Charlotte Golf Cart Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured in a golf cart accident, you might be entitled to compensation for injuries. Auger & Auger Accident and Injury Lawyers can help. Give us a call for a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Charlotte golf cart accident attorney.
Partner Herb Auger is an avid golfer and has played at many courses in the Charlotte area. He has successfully handled golf cart accident cases for over 20 years, including cases involving single cart rollovers, rear-end collisions with other carts, accidents with automobiles, golfers struck by golf carts, and more. We know how to fight for your rights and will work hard to get you compensation for losses.
Golf Cart Accident Risks
Charlotte residents and visitors alike are fortunate to have the perfect weather to golf for most of the year. There are more than 70 golf courses in Charlotte and surrounding areas, and as more courses pop up in the Charlotte area, so do more golf carts.
Golf carts are easy-to-operate vehicles that are convenient for golfers and golf course staff members. However, there is a risk of accidents on golf carts, especially when horseplay or alcohol is involved.
If you have been injured in a golf cart related crash, Auger & Auger Accident and Injury Lawyers can help. While many of our golf cart accident clients are worried about suing their friends, it is not your friend who will pay the bills. Most of the time we settle claims out of court with the driver’s homeowner’s insurance. The insurer will compensate victims for medical bills, lost income, and personal injuries. Additionally, a third party like the golf course owner or golf cart manufacturer may be liable. If this is the case, we will also start by negotiating with their insurance company.
Golf Carts Are Highly Susceptible to Rollovers
Pursuing a case after a golf cart accident is important because injuries are often serious. Golf carts lack many safety standards found on cars and trucks, such as doors, seat belts, airbags, and antilock brakes. These vehicles can reach speeds of up to 25 mph and are highly susceptible to rollovers. All of this makes it more likely your injuries will not be minor.
Of the estimated 15,000 annual golf car accidents, approximately 13,000 result in a visit to the hospital emergency department. Young men between the ages of 10-19 account for nearly 40 percent of all golf cart accidents, and half of those accidents involved ejection or falling from the golf cart.
Golf Cart Laws in Charlotte
There are no specific laws about golf carts in Charlotte, but per state laws, they must be licensed like any other vehicle. They should only be used on roads with a speed limit of 35 or less. Golf cart drivers are required to follow the same road rules as everyone else and should keep an eye out for other traffic. If you notice a car gaining on you, it’s good to pull over when it’s safe and let them go around.
All golf cart riders are required to wear seatbelts. The cart should have headlights, tail lights, turn signals, brake lights, mirrors, DOT-approved tires, a windshield, and a DOT-approved windshield wiper.
With more people using golf carts as low-speed vehicles (LSV), accidents may also be increasing. From January 2020 – December 2021, Charlotte saw 44 golf cart accidents, including one fatality.
Can You Get a Ticket on a Golf Cart?
Yes, if you are driving your golf cart on a public road, you are subject to the same traffic laws as a car. You can be ticketed for speeding or running a red light, arrested for driving under the influence, etc.
If you are driving the cart on private property, like a golf course or club, law enforcement will not have a reason to ticket you in most cases. However, these institutions usually have security staff. One of their jobs is to protect the club from liability by preventing accidents where people might get hurt. So if you’re driving dangerously on private property, the establishment’s security officers or management team will probably ask you to stop. Depending on the situation, they may also ask you to leave.
What Causes Golf Cart Accidents?
Some of the many causes of golf cart accidents are the same things that cause car accidents, but there are also some specific risk factors unique to these small, low-speed vehicles:
- Riders or the driver letting their legs dangle off the side of the cart. We’ve seen a lot of people with leg and foot injuries from doing this, some requiring a cast, surgery, or months of physical therapy. It’s best to keep all your limbs inside the golf cart and make sure your passengers do the same if you’re driving. Not only can you injure your foot, but you could also cause the golf cart to wreck if your leg or foot gets caught on something.
- Some people think it’s a challenge to see if they can get their golf cart to go over 25 MPH. Others want to have a golf cart race. These are not good ideas. In fact, in many cases, you should go much slower than the top speed of 25 MPH for LSVs. If the weather is bad, visibility is reduced, or you’re driving through a crowded area with a lot of people moving around, you should slow way down.
- Golf carting under the influence. Another misconception is that because golf carts don’t go very fast, you can’t get hurt on them, so it’s not dangerous to drive under the influence the way it would be in a car. A car might indeed be going 40 MPH or more in an accident, and higher speeds usually come with a higher risk of injuries. But cars have a lot of safety features golf carts don’t have, like airbags and doors. It’s also possible to be injured even at lower speeds, especially if ejected from the cart. If you’ve been drinking, get someone sober to drive the cart.
- Distracted driving. Like drunk driving, distracted driving is also a problem on a golf cart. Your text messages can wait until you’ve stopped driving. Eating, drinking, and turning to look at passengers can also be problematic distractions.
- Reckless driving. Often this involves one of the last three causes. Sometimes people may also decide to do tricks in a golf cart or attempt other dangerous maneuvers. If you see someone driving erratically on a golf course, it’s good to let the course or club’s management know. As noted above, they will usually have security officers trained to handle these situations. In the meantime, put as much distance as you can between yourself and the erratic driver.
- Driving the cart over tricky terrain. Wet or muddy ground or uneven surfaces can pose a significant threat in a small, boxy vehicle like a golf cart. If you can go around these areas, that’s the best idea. If not, you should proceed slowly and carefully.
- Forgetting to lock the brake when you get out of the golf cart. Always check the brake. We’ve seen a lot of cases where the cart simply rolled away after being parked.
- Trying to go in reverse downhill. Aside from possibly damaging the cart’s motor, this can also end with the cart flipping.
- Sharp turns. This is another common way that golf carts get flipped. Always slow down and turn the wheel carefully when going into a turn.
- Risky passenger behavior. There are two prevalent issues – overcrowding and passengers standing up. When someone stands in a cart, it makes the vehicle more top-heavy, increasing the risk of a flip. Likewise, packing too many people on the cart can make it unstable, especially if the passengers are moving around or extra people are on one side. Riding on the back stand is another potential problem. If you have a lot of people to transport, make it clear you won’t overpack the cart and then make multiple trips. If your passengers keep trying to stand up or otherwise engage in risky behavior, stop the cart until you can get them to settle down or get out.
- Failure to notice potential dangers. Always be on the lookout for other people and carts and animals or any obstruction on the ground where you’re driving.
Golf Cart Safety Tips
To keep yourself and your passengers safe when riding in a golf cart, follow these tips:
- Always maintain control and be aware of weather and terrain.
- Inspect the cart regularly and try to catch any issues, such as broken lights or damaged mirrors, before driving anywhere.
- Consider taking a golf cart safety course to keep your knowledge updated.
- Do not operate a golf cart while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Steer clear of distractions when driving a golf cart, just as you would in a motor vehicle.
- Horseplay or recklessness can cause serious injuries. A golf cart is not a toy and should not be treated like one. If your passengers are goofing around and causing a distraction, stop the cart and invite them to get out and continue their antics somewhere else.
- Drivers and passengers should keep all body parts inside the golf cart and keep both feet firmly on the floor for passenger stability. Do not carry more passengers than the golf cart was designed to hold. Children should be placed in the middle of the cart, between two adults, to reduce the risk of falling out of the vehicle.
- The back platform was not meant to seat passengers, and passengers should not stand while the vehicle is in motion. Standing in a golf cart causes the center of gravity to change so that the golf cart can tip over.
- Avoid sharp turns while traveling at significant speed and watch out for slopes or wet conditions when driving a golf cart. Excessive speed during a turn may cause the cart to flip.
What Kind of Injuries Happen in Golf Cart Accidents?
It depends on the type of accident, but here are some of the most common injuries people experience in these collisions:
- Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI). In many cases, patients recover in time, but they may suffer permanent brain damage or chronic headaches in some situations.
- Neck, back, or spinal cord injuries. Soft tissue injuries can be painful, but a fracture in the spine or injury to the spinal cord can lead to permanent paralysis. Other people may have chronic back or neck pain after their injuries.
- Crush injuries. Usually, these occur in rollover or flipping situations in which a driver or rider is ejected from the cart, and then the cart lands on them. Crush injuries may involve damage to muscles, bones, or internal organs or tissues from prolonged compression by something heavy (in this case, usually the golf cart). Damage to the windpipe or suffocation may also occur.
- Arm and leg injuries, usually resulting from someone riding with their limbs hanging out of the cart.
Let an Experienced Charlotte Golf Cart Injury Attorney Help You
Auger & Auger has been helping accident victims recover compensation for injuries for over 20 years. If you were injured in a golf cart accident due to the negligence of another party, you might be entitled to damages. We strongly suggest you seek legal advice before speaking to an insurance adjuster. Remember, insurance companies are not looking out for your best interest. During your free consultation, we will discuss your injuries, rights, and options.
Most victims suffering from serious golf cart-related injuries deal with expensive medical treatment, growing medical bills, lost wages due to an inability to work, and pain and suffering. We will investigate your accident and gather evidence to build up your claim. We understand how serious a golf cart accident can be, and our dedicated team of attorneys will work hard on your behalf to reach a fair settlement.