There are a lot of ways to get around Raleigh. You can drive, walk, ride a bike, or take a bus. You can also zip around in a golf cart in many areas in the city. Of course, you’ll also probably use a golf cart when you hit the links at one of the many golf courses in the area. Whether you’re traveling on a side road or heading to the green to sink in your birdie, driving a golf cart can be incredibly dangerous.
When golf cart accidents happen, they can result in serious injuries. Because of how golf carts are designed, they are inclined to tip over, especially when the carts are driven at high speeds. Even when they don’t tip over, drivers and passengers can fall out of the vehicle, causing injuries.
At Auger & Auger, we have fought for the rights of golf cart accident victims for over 26 years. As such, we’re intimately familiar with the state and local laws that dictate when and where you can drive a golf cart, and who can be held liable if you’re injured in an accident. Give us a call at (919) 873-4955 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation with a golf cart accident lawyer in Raleigh today.
In North Carolina, there are more than a few laws regarding safely operating a golf cart. For one, golf carts are not allowed to be operated on or alongside a public street with a speed limit higher than 35 miles an hour, and carts are not allowed to operate above 20 miles an hour. However, carts are allowed to crossroads with a speed limit above 35 miles an hour, as long as they don’t cross at an angle.
No one under the age of 16 is allowed to operate a golf cart. If you’re driving the cart on a public roadway, you must have a valid driver’s license. You must also keep your license on you at all times if you’re operating your vehicle on a public road. While on the road, you have to follow all traffic laws dictated by the state and by Raleigh. This includes the use and possession of alcohol and drugs.
You are not allowed to have more than the maximum number of people in your golf cart as dictated by the cart’s manufacturer. You must also have all safety equipment installed, as dictated by the manufacturer. You may not have passengers in areas designed for cargo, such as the area designed for carrying golf bags.
Finally, if your cart doesn’t have headlights, you may only operate it during daylight hours. If your cart has working headlights and taillights that are visible from 500 feet, you can drive your cart at any time. In addition, if your cart doesn’t have turn signals, you must use hand signals before turning.
After a golf cart accident, you may be entitled to compensation. In most cases, the person who caused the injuries is held liable. This could be the driver of the cart if you fall out of it. Or, it could be the driver of another vehicle if they caused the wreck. However, in rare instances, the manufacturer of the cart can be held responsible if the cart malfunctions, causing the accident.
No matter who is responsible, you may be entitled to a variety of different types of compensation, or damages. These “compensatory” damages are divided into economic and noneconomic categories. Economic damages are those that deal with the real money you lost because of the accident. This can include property damage, medical bills, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, and more.
Noneconomic damages are more ambiguous because they have nothing to do with the money you lost. Instead, they compensate you for losses such as pain and suffering, physical disfigurement, lost earning capacity, temporary or permanent disability, and more.
In some instances, you may also be entitled to punitive damages. These damages aren’t intended to compensate you for your losses, but instead to punish the party that caused the wreck. In order to get punitive damages for a golf cart accident, you must show that the person responsible acted with malice or “willful or wanton conduct.”
A study released in 2008 reviewed nearly 150,000 golf cart-related injuries that resulted in emergency room visits. The most common type of injury was soft tissue injuries, which accounted for about 48 percent of these visits. Soft tissue injuries include whiplash, muscle tears and strains, tendon and muscle sprains and strains, and more.
In addition, the study found that the most common cause of injury was falling out of the golf cart, which caused nearly 40 percent of reviewed injuries. Falling out of a golf cart can happen if the driver takes a turn too quickly, or if the rider is acting unsafely. Falls can result in broken bones, head injuries, neck and back injuries, and many more.
If you are injured in a golf cart accident in North Carolina, we have the experiences and resources to help you get the compensation you deserve. We are intimately familiar with the local and state laws that dictate operating a golf cart, and we’re also familiar with the courts in which your case will potentially be heard.
Our goal is to settle your case out of court by negotiating with the insurance company. But if they refuse to play ball, our skills can give you a great chance of winning your case in court. Give us a call at (919) 873-4955 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation with a golf cart accident lawyer in Raleigh today.