When you’re riding in a golf cart in Kentucky, you’re not unlike passengers in other vehicles. Namely, you have virtually no control over the actions of the person driving the golf cart. This lack of control plays a huge role in accidents and injuries that can happen to you.
Even though it’s smaller and less complex than other vehicles, driving and keeping up with the maintenance on a golf cart still requires being careful. When this doesn’t happen, a golf cart is as susceptible to malfunctions during operation as any other vehicle. This, in turn, can lead to incidents where you or your loved ones may face serious injuries after falling out of the cart itself.
Dedicated Kentucky Golf Cart Accident Lawyers
While they don’t happen every day, a golf cart accident can be just as impactful on your everyday life as any other type of vehicle accident. At Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, our team of dedicated Kentucky golf cart accident lawyers knows that these circumstances can be overwhelming. That’s why you can rely on our team to guide you through this challenging period.
We offer legal counsel and experienced assistance to ensure the protection of your rights and options. Don’t wait–please contact us today to set up a free consultation.
What Would Cause You To Fall Out of a Golf Cart in Kentucky?
In thinking about the various scenarios where you could potentially fall out of a golf cart in Kentucky, you probably go first to a mishap on a golf course. After all, one of the defining characteristics of these vehicles is them being designed to move at low to medium speeds carrying golfers around the course.
However, there are a number of possible scenarios where you could be riding in a golf cart and something happens where you fall out of it. Generally speaking, the most common scenarios include:
- Sudden stops or sharp turns – If the driver of the golf cart makes abrupt stops or takes sharp turns without warning, passengers may not have sufficient time to brace themselves, potentially leading to falls.
- Uneven terrain – Golf courses in Kentucky can have uneven terrain, and if the cart encounters a rough or bumpy area, passengers may lose balance and fall.
- Overcrowding – Golf carts are designed to carry a specific number of passengers safely. If the cart is overcrowded, it can become unstable, increasing the risk of passengers falling out.
- Reckless driving – Reckless or careless driving by the operator of the golf cart, such as speeding or erratic maneuvers, can lead to passengers losing their balance and falling.
- Mechanical failures – Faulty brakes, steering, or other mechanical failures in the golf cart can result in sudden movements that lead to falls.
- Drunk driving – Driving a golf cart while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can impair the driver’s judgment and coordination, increasing the likelihood of accidents and falls.
- Lack of seatbelts – Some golf carts may not be equipped with seatbelts or other safety features to secure passengers, making them more vulnerable to falling.
As you can see, there’s a number of different reasons why an accident could happen that throws you from a golf cart. With that said, many of these potential scenarios involve a driver doing something they’re not supposed to. That’s why it’s important to take steps to protect yourself in these situations
How Can You Protect Yourself as a Kentucky Golf Cart Passenger?
Obviously, the best protection against a golf cart accident in Kentucky is not being in one to begin with. This is, of course, easier said than done, particularly if you’re not driving the golf cart. With that said, while you don’t necessarily have control of the golf cart as a passenger, there are certain ways you can protect yourself in the event of an accident:
- Wear seatbelts (if available) – If the golf cart is equipped with seatbelts, make sure to fasten them properly. Seatbelts can prevent you from falling out or being ejected in case of sudden stops or accidents.
- Choose a safe driver – If you have a choice, select a responsible and sober driver for the golf cart. Avoid riding with individuals who may engage in reckless behavior or impaired driving.
- Follow the golf course’s rules – Be aware of and adhere to local regulations and golf course rules regarding golf cart usage. Make sure the driver follows the posted speed limits and traffic signs.
- Stay seated – Remain seated while the golf cart is in motion. Avoid standing, leaning, or hanging outside the cart, as sudden movements can lead to falls.
- Keep hands and feet inside the cart – Keep all body parts inside the golf cart to prevent injury. Don’t dangle your feet or hands outside the vehicle.
- Hold on – When the golf cart is moving, hold onto the designated handrails or grips if available. This provides additional stability.
- Avoid overcrowding – Golf carts have a maximum passenger capacity. Do not exceed this limit to maintain stability and safety.
- Be cautious around uneven terrain – Be prepared for bumps and uneven terrain on golf courses. Hold on firmly when the cart encounters rough patches.
- Report mechanical issues -If you notice any mechanical problems with the golf cart (e.g., faulty brakes, steering issues), report them immediately to the operator or course management.
- Stay sober – If alcohol or drugs impair your judgment or coordination, avoid riding in a golf cart as a passenger.
- Communicate with the driver – If you feel uncomfortable with the driver’s actions, express your concerns and ask them to drive safely.
- Be mindful of equipment – If there are items or bags in the golf cart, ensure they are secure and won’t shift during the ride.
- Stay alert – Pay attention to your surroundings and be aware of other golf carts, pedestrians, and obstacles on the course.
Even with these precautions, accidents and injuries can still happen to you as a passenger. Although every accident is unique, you can expect the following injuries after being thrown from a golf cart:
- Fractured bones
- Severe brain trauma or concussions
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck strain (Whiplash)
- Knee damage
- Cuts and contusions
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Liability and Golf Cart Accidents in Kentucky
In Kentucky, golf carts are held to the same legal standard as any other motor vehicle when it comes to liability for accidents. Essentially, similar to any other vehicle, if the driver of a golf cart is responsible for an accident due to negligence, both the driver and the owner of the golf cart (usually the golf course) bear liability for the resulting damages. The determination of negligence is based on four key elements:
- The driver or golf course owes a legal duty to the injured individual.
- The driver or golf course breaches that duty.
- An injury occurs as a result.
- Establishing that the driver or golf course’s breach of duty directly caused the injury (also known as “proximate cause”).
Once negligence is established, you have the legal right to seek compensation for your injuries, even if you were a passenger. However, you do have to first nail down who exactly is responsible. In these cases, this could be a variety of different parties:
- The driver of the golf cart
- The golf course
- The golf course’s grounds crew or maintenance crew
- The manufacturer of the golf cart
- A vehicle driver or government agency responsible for maintaining the road, if the accident occurs on a main road
Passengers in golf carts are seldom responsible for accidents since they lack control over the vehicle. Nonetheless, it’s possible for them to play a role in accidents. Kentucky law addresses this with its “comparative negligence” rule.
This holds that whatever percentage of fault you or any other passenger is responsible for in the accident reduces the overall recovery by that same percentage.
Legal Process After a Kentucky Golf Cart Accident
It’s undeniable that a golf cart accident and subsequent injuries in Kentucky present unique circumstances. However, the legal process that’s involved is the same as any other vehicle accident in Kentucky. Therefore, it generally follows the same procedural steps once you or another injured party decides to explore your options. Before making any decisions, it is crucial to take advantage of our free consultations. Our team can assess the particulars of your case, examine the evidence, and provide guidance without any obligation on your part.
Typically, a golf cart injury case offers two primary avenues for seeking damages: an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. The process commonly begins with an insurance claim and may progress to a lawsuit, but is ultimately up to you.
If you decide to start the legal process after getting hurt in a Kentucky golf cart accident, your goal is to recover damages for what happened to you. Generally speaking, these damages include:
- Medical expenses (e.g., hospital bills)
- Lost income due to the injury
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering resulting from the injury
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life or companionship
It’s crucial to note that all injury claims in Kentucky, including those arising from golf cart accidents, are subject to a specific timeframe known as the “statute of limitations.” This sets the legal deadline for filing your claim. Presently, Kentucky has a two-year statute of limitations, which begins from the date of injury.
Support from Experienced Kentucky Golf Cart Accident Lawyers
Golfing or otherwise riding in a golf cart allows you the unique opportunity to relax and enjoy Kentucky’s rugged beauty and vibrant greenery. At Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, we understand how any injury can harm you. We’re committed to helping people hurt in Kentucky golf cart accidents because of someone else’s negligence. Contact us for a free consultation today.