What happens when you are injured driving or riding in a golf cart? Are there different laws or rules that apply? Each year there are around 15,000 golf cart injuries in the U.S. that require emergency care. according to a report published in ResearchGate.
Some of these accidents happen on a crosswalk where a public street is between holes in a golf course. In one such incident, a man was killed and another injured when they driving their golf cart across a street using a crosswalk.
The accident happened Sunday, August 11, 2019, at a crosswalk on Pee Wee Reese Road at the Seneca Golf Course in Louisville Kentucky. A man driving a motor vehicle struck two men crossing Pee Wee Reese Road which dissects the course.
Police at the scene say that the driver of the car had a BAC of .173 which is over twice the legal limit. He was later charged with murder, assault, wanton endangerment, driving without a license and DUI.
Golf Carts on Public Streets in Kentucky
In 2008, Kentucky passed a law allowing golf carts on public streets so long as it was within five miles of a golf course. This was later modified, and the state dropped the five-mile exception and allow them on any streets so long as they meet certain requirements:
A golf cart can travel on public roads with a permit by the local city, town or county government after being inspected by the sheriff’s office, and:
- Not travel more than 35 mph
- Carry no more than six people
- Maximum weight of 2,500 lbs
Golf carts are used on public roads in retirement communities, resorts, tourist areas and many other areas across the state. When they are on the streets, the law treats them the same as another vehicle for purposes of traffic code violations and the right-of-way.
State law allows each city, township and county to pass local golf cart rules, and the golf cart operators must obey the local rules as well.
Liability for Golf Cart Injuries
So who is going to pay for someone who is injured in a golf cart accident? The answer is contingent on how the accident happened and who—if anyone—is negligent. In every case, if someone is negligent in their actions and that negligence was the cause of the victim’s injuries, then that person may be liable for compensation. However, this can differ depending on where the accident was and who was involved.
On the Golf Course
If the accident happens on a golf course, then the driver of the cart might be negligent in the way he or she drove the vehicle. If a passenger is hurt by the negligence of the driver or if two carts hit each other, the negligent driver will pay.
Also, the owner of the course might have some liability depending on the condition of the cart paths or course and the maintenance of the cart.
Off the Golf Course
Once the cart if off the course, then the rules of the road apply. If the cart is crossing at a designated crossing zone, then the vehicle crosswalk rules apply. This means the golf cart has the right-of-way if they are in the crosswalk when the car approaches. However, they are not allowed to suddenly drive out in front of a car that is lawfully on the roadway.
In the Public Streets
Sometimes people drive their carts from their hotel, bed and breakfast or vacation home to a local grocery store or park or lake beach. When driving on the streets, the driver must drive just as a car would and can be given a ticket the same as a car driver. They are also responsible for any of their negligent actions if they cause a personal injury.
Negligence on a Golf Cart
A golf cart driver is negligent if he or she fails to operate the cart in a reasonable and prudent manner. The court will look at whether the driver used the same due care and responsibility that any reasonable driver would in the same or similar circumstances.
What to do if You’re Injured While Riding in a Golf Cart
If you’ve been injured while riding a golf cart, whether it is on the course on in pubic, you need to talk to an attorney who knows the rules regarding golf carts and has experience with golf cart personal injury claims.
At Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, we offer a free consultation where we can let you know the process and the law so you can make an informed decision. If you choose to hire us, we will immediately put our experience to work and level the playing field. Don’t go it alone. The insurance companies have lots of experience handling these cases, and most likely, it’s your first one. They don’t make money by paying you lots of money for your injuries, so you need someone on your side.
Call the attorneys at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, and they will stand behind you to make sure that you are treated fairly and that you get the highest compensation allowed by the law.