Golf Cart Accidents Can Cause Severe Injuries
Were you injured in a golf cart accident in Nashville? Was it due to the negligent actions of another person? If so, contact Bill Easterly & Associates, and we’ll review your case to determine the compensation you’re entitled to receive. Golf carts were once specifically used for transportation on golf courses. Now they’re being utilized in residential communities, airports, and various other properties. They’re convenient and easy to use, but they can also pose many risks.
Accidents are usually the result of driver error. Whether someone isn’t paying attention or is driving too fast across dangerous terrain, the cart could crash or flip over and cause severe injuries.
At Bill Easterly & Associates, we understand that, in the aftermath of a golf cart accident, you may be struggling with injuries that require expensive medical treatment, lost wages, and ongoing pain. If another person was responsible for the accident, they should be held responsible for your losses and suffering – not you.
Call (615) 244-2222 today, and one of our Nashville personal injury attorneys will meet with you for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.
Common Causes of Golf Cart Accidents
Around 15,000 people visit the ER every year due to golf cart-related injuries. Most drivers believe they’re relatively safe because they don’t reach excessive speeds or travel on major roadways. However, many factors could lead to severe injuries. If the driver isn’t careful, they could find themselves in a dangerous situation.
The standard golf cart you find on a golf course has seating for two people with space in the back for two golf bags. There’s a plastic windshield but no sides or seatbelts to protect the occupants. Maximum speeds can typically reach 20-25 mph. It doesn’t seem that fast, but if you hit something head-on or roll the cart, you could sustain debilitating physical harm. Some people die as a result of the accident.
The most common causes of golf cart accidents include:
- Overloaded cart: Many carts can only hold up to 500 pounds. If three people use a two-seater cart and load multiple golf bags, it can easily exceed the limit. It’s difficult to maneuver an overloaded cart. If the driver needs to brake or swerve suddenly, the extra weight could eject the occupants or lead to a collision.
- Distractions: Driver distraction is one of the leading reasons for accidents. There’s this misconception that carts are much safer than cars, so drivers tend to have a more laid-back approach during operation.
- Sharp turns: Golf carts are top-heavy and lighter than standard motor vehicles. Taking a sharp turn can cause it to tip over or roll, especially if it’s on a hill or uneven terrain.
- Driving at excessive speeds: Carts aren’t meant to go fast. They provide transportation around residential communities and other areas where foot traffic is common. Driving too fast can lead to a crash, especially when it’s combined with distractions.
- Alcohol impairment: Golf courses see the highest number of alcohol-related accidents. That’s because golfers have access to various beverages while they’re playing. Even though it might seem like a safer option than drinking and driving a car, it can still impair abilities and cause the driver to lose control.
- Hazardous conditions: Sometimes, the driver isn’t responsible for an accident. If the roads aren’t properly maintained, the cart could hit a hazard, such as a pothole, and cause a crash. Other dangers could involve debris that isn’t promptly removed, uneven pavement, or inadequate lighting.
- Golf cart defects: Whoever owns the carts must perform inspections and repairs regularly. If there’s a defect or damage, the cart might not function properly and result in an accident.
Determining Liability After a Golf Cart Accident
There must be a thorough investigation to determine who caused the crash. Multiple parties could be held liable for your injuries. An experienced Nashville golf cart lawyer from Bill Easterly & Associates could assist you with the investigation.
- Driver: If the driver behaved carelessly behind the wheel, they could be responsible for the crash. You would have to prove they weren’t paying attention to where they were going or displayed reckless actions.
- Golf cart owner: The person or company responsible for maintaining all carts could bear the blame if they didn’t inspect the cart you were in. If it malfunctioned or contained damage that led to the collision, the owner would be financially liable for the harm you suffered.
- Property owner: In situations where the property was in poor condition, you could pursue compensation from the property owner. It’s their duty to ensure the safety of all their guests. They must keep the property free from hazards, promptly repair any damage, and provide an environment where people aren’t at risk of harm.
- Cart manufacturer: There are times when there are defective parts that prevent the golf cart from functioning as usual. If the manufacturer used a defective part or didn’t provide adequate warning of the risks, they may have to pay for your expenses associated with the crash.
What to Do After a Golf Cart Accident
There are necessary steps you must take if you want to recover compensation for your injuries.
- Notify the property owner. Whether you were injured at a golf course or on a residential property, you should file an incident report. Complete the form with specific details about what happened, how the accident occurred, and the injuries you sustained. Ask the owner to make a copy and request their insurance company details so you can file a claim.
- Take photos of the accident scene. It’s especially important to include this form of evidence if the property is in poor condition. You should take pictures of the pothole or hazard that led to the crash and other relevant evidence you find.
- Speak to witnesses. If anyone saw what happened, write down their names and phone numbers. They could provide witness statements to confirm your version of events.
- Go to the doctor. Even if your injury is minor, you should still undergo a medical evaluation. If the doctor refers you for additional treatment, follow their orders. It’s crucial that you continue attending appointments until all your medical providers release you from care. Gaps in treatment can indicate to an insurance adjuster that you didn’t get hurt in the accident, or your injuries aren’t severe enough to require medical care.
- Calculate the estimated cost of damage to any personal property. For example, if you were wearing a watch that broke in the crash, you might be able to recover compensation for the cost of repairs or replacement.
- Hire a Nashville golf cart injury attorney. We can handle every step of the legal process for you so you can focus on recovering.
How to Pursue Compensation After a Golf Cart Accident
Whether you choose to file an insurance claim or lawsuit, you’re entitled to various damages if another person was liable for your injuries. Damages are the total losses associated with an accident. They fall under two main categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are actual expenses, such as:
- Medical bills
- Out of pocket costs
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
Non-economic damages refer to intangible losses, such as:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
It can be difficult to determine an appropriate monetary value for non-economic damages. Insurance companies might use different contributing factors involved in the case to calculate the right amount. In most instances, the more severe injury you suffer, the higher your compensation will be.
How Modified Comparative Negligence Could Affect the Value of Your Case
Tennessee follows a modified comparative negligence rule when it comes to personal injury cases. That means the total damages you can pursue depends on the percentage of fault you share. If you partially contributed to the accident, you won’t be allowed to recover the maximum compensation available.
For instance, let’s say your total damages are worth $50,000. If you were free of any fault, you could seek a $50,000 insurance settlement to cover all your damages. However, under the modified comparative negligence rule, if the insurance company discovers you share 20% blame, you would only be allowed a maximum of $40,000. You also must be less than 50% at fault; otherwise, you will be barred from collecting any amount of money from the at-fault party.
Speak to a Dedicated Nashville Golf Cart Injury Lawyer Today
At Bill Easterly & Associates, we know the pain you’ve experienced since your golf cart accident. You might not be able to work and worry about the financial burden you face. Handling a legal case is probably the last thing you want to do. We’ll take on the responsibility so you can focus on healing your injuries. You won’t have to communicate with the insurance company or figure out how to collect evidence. We’ll do all of that for you.
Since opening our firm in 1994, our experienced legal team has helped clients like you within our community recover after devastating accidents. When another person’s actions are the reason you’re in pain, you want to seek justice. We’ll help you hold them liable and win the maximum financial award you deserve. If you were the victim of a golf cart accident, call Bill Easterly & Associates at (615) 244-2222 immediately. One of our Nashville golf cart injury lawyers will be happy to speak with you.