Bridgeport Golf Cart Accident Lawyer

A golf cart accident lawyer sitting at a desk and waiting for a client.Golf carts may seem safer than larger vehicles like cars because they don’t go very fast and usually aren’t driven on roads. However, they are prone to flipping due to their shape, and other accidents may include collisions, riders falling out of the cart, or carts striking pedestrians.

One study found that in a ten-year period, more than 154,000 people visited emergency departments with golf-cart-related injuries. Yearly golf cart injury rates also rose during the study period, from 14,599 cases at the beginning of the study to 16,752 annual cases at the end of it.

Injuries ranged from minor issues like lacerations to severe and even fatal injuries, including traumatic brain injury or TBI. These injuries were particularly concerning in children who are disadvantaged on golf carts—they are small and can easily fall or be ejected from the cart during an accident, even at low speeds.

The study found kids were three times more likely than adults to suffer a TBI in a golf cart accident. Overall, injury rates for kids in golf cart accidents were twice as high as for adults, and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital recommends kids under the age of 6 should not ride in golf carts.

How Can a Bridgeport Golf Cart Accident Attorney Help After an Accident?

Determining the best way to get compensation for your injuries after a golf cart accident can be challenging. There could be multiple liable parties, and it’s likely none of them will be eager to pay for your damages, yet you may have medical bills, lost income, physical pain, emotional distress, and other losses.

Your Bridgeport golf cart accident attorney will help you learn how your accident occurred, who might have been negligent, and what your options are for recovering damages. If you decide to move forward, we can assist you with filing a lawsuit or an insurance claim, or if your claim has already been denied, we might be able to help you appeal the denial.

What Causes Golf Cart Accidents?

Every accident is different, but here are some common issues that can lead to a golf cart accident:

  • Overloaded golf carts. We get it: You’ve been playing golf all day, you’re tired, and it’s a long walk back to the clubhouse. You don’t want to walk, and neither do your friends, but you’ve only got one golf cart. It may be tempting to try to squeeze everyone in, but this increases the risk of flipping the cart and also makes it harder to brake and accelerate. If no one wants to walk, consider making two trips so you don’t have to overload the cart.
  • Falling out of the cart. Remember, golf carts usually don’t have seatbelts, and the sides are open, so it’s easy to fall out. Again, overloading can increase this risk, and going too fast, especially around curves, can also lead to a person being ejected from the cart.
  • Distracted driving. Even though golf carts don’t go as fast as a car, distracted driving is still dangerous in a golf cart. Put your phone down and concentrate on where you’re going.
  • Impaired driving. As with the previous point, drinking and driving is also a problem in a golf cart. Sometimes, people enjoy a few drinks on the course and don’t realize they shouldn’t be driving the cart. If you’ve been drinking, find someone sober to drive the cart—some clubs will send an employee to pick you up, or you can designate a driver beforehand.
  • Taking turns too fast. Golf carts are easy to flip, even when they’re not overloaded, and flipping is more likely when turning. Always slow down before making a turn or going around curves.
  • Hanging arms and legs outside of the cart. A surprising number of people suffer from broken bones because they dangled their legs off the side of the cart or hung their arms over the side. The accident usually happens something like this: The cart driver passes close to an object like a table or fence. They’ve judged that they’re not close enough to hit the thing, but they aren’t aware one of the passengers is dangling a foot off the cart. The foot hits the object, and the rider may fall out of the cart, break their leg or ankle, or both.
  • Passengers standing in the cart or horsing around. Everyone riding in the cart should remain seated. If your passengers try to stand on the cart, hang off the side, or start horsing around, it’s best to stop the cart until they sit back down.
  • Forgetting to set the brake when parking the cart. Sometimes, a golf cart causes injuries when there’s no one in the cart! If you forget to engage the parking brake, the cart could simply roll away and crash into a person or another cart.
  • Obstructions. In some cases, an unexpected hole or dip in the ground or debris in the cart’s path can cause an accident.
  • Negligent driving. Connecticut bans golf carts from the roadways in most situations. However, the state allows local authorities to make their own ordinances regarding golf carts, so in some cities, carts can be driven on roads with a posted speed limit of 25 MPH or less. Carts must also have a horn and a flag (to make it more visible), and the cart driver should have a valid license. Although these rules reduce the risk of accidents with golf carts, collisions can still happen if a car or golf cart driver is reckless.

Who Is Responsible for a Golf Cart Accident?

Depending on the situation, there could be a number of liable parties. Your Bridgeport personal injury lawyer will study the police report (if there is one) and other documentation to learn more. If necessary, we may also investigate further to seek out witness testimony, photo or video evidence, phone records, or other evidence.

Here are some of the potentially liable parties in a golf cart accident:

  • The golf cart driver. If the driver was careless, distracted, or intoxicated, they could have negligently caused an accident that injured others. When the cart driver also owns the cart, they may have an insurance policy that covers their liability.
  • The cart owner. Even if the owner is not the driver, they may have liability depending on the situation. For instance, if they loaned the cart to someone who was intoxicated or unfamiliar with driving a golf cart, the owner might be negligent. Or, if they failed to maintain the cart and it malfunctioned, causing an accident, they could also be liable. This may even be true in some situations where the injured person rented a golf cart from a business and signed a waiver stating the owner wasn’t responsible for accidents. The owner still has a duty to provide a reasonably safe vehicle, waiver or not.
  • The property owner. This is often an issue in situations involving external hazards. If you were riding on someone else’s property and unexpectedly encountered a large hole, a downed tree, a large piece of debris in your path, etc., the owner might have been negligent. However, we will need to show they were aware of the hazard and didn’t take reasonable steps to fix it or warn you about it.
  • A manufacturer or third-party service company. Sometimes, a golf cart malfunction is not the owner’s fault. If the accident happened due to a defect in the cart itself that was present when the cart left the manufacturer, you might have a claim against the cart company. Or, if a mechanic or service company worker made an error when repairing or maintaining the cart, and their mistake caused your accident, the third-party service company might be liable.

What if the Accident Was Your Fault?

Never assume fault in an accident without speaking to a lawyer. Frequently, people are unaware of the cause of their accident and assume it must have been their fault, but they may be wrong.

Fault can also be shared under Connecticut law, so even if you know you made a mistake, you might not be entirely at fault. If you are less than 51 percent responsible for the accident, you can still collect damages from the other party minus your percentage of culpability.

Yet the other party or their insurance company might claim you were entirely or primarily at fault. Your golf cart accident lawyer will assemble evidence and create a strategy to show you had little or no responsibility in the collision.

How Can You Get Help From a Bridgeport Golf Cart Accident Law Firm?

Please contact Bert McDowell Injury Law for a free consultation about your golf cart accident. We’ll review the details, answer your questions, and go over your options for seeking compensation.

There is no obligation, and if we take your case, we won’t charge you anything until we win or settle it.

Attorney Bert McDowell Jr. is an experienced litigator who represents people in a variety of personal injury situations. He was featured in 40 Under 40 Connecticut Magazine and National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40.

Super Lawyers has also named him a Rising Star four years in a row. Dedicated to community service, Mr. McDowell serves on the board of multiple nonprofit organizations.

He was honored for his efforts with the 100 Men of Color Award and the Man of Excellence Award from the organization Black People Rocks. Work with him today by calling (203) 590-9169.