Thanks to their relatively low speed and small profile, most people don’t consider golf carts dangerous. Unfortunately, golf cart accidents can lead to serious injury or death.
Because many Floridians use golf carts around residential areas, gated communities, hospitals, military bases and college campuses—in addition to golf courses—the potential for harm is high. Golf carts do not offer the same sort of protection a traditional vehicle does. Passengers are vulnerable, often with devastating results. Is there any legal recourse?
Negligence and golf cart accidents
Generally, negligent drivers—whether they’re driving vehicles or golf carts—can be held liable for any injuries which result from their actions.
Furthermore, the owners of golf carts can be held liable under their classification as a “dangerous instrumentality,” even if they weren’t the driver who caused the accident. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that “the dangerous-instrumentality doctrine, which imposes liability upon the owner of a dangerous agency, when he intrusts [sic] it to someone who negligently operates it, applies to golf carts.” In other words, if you lend your golf cart to a friend and they injure someone, you may be held liable for the victim’s injuries.
Defective golf carts
If a defect in the golf cart caused the blame, however, the driver may not be liable. Instead, they may file a products liability suit against the manufacturer. Products liability suits are often strict liability cases, meaning that plaintiffs don’t have to show the manufacturer was negligent. They simply have to prove that the product was defective and was the proximate cause of any resulting harm.
If you’ve been injured in a golf cart-related accident, contact an experienced Bradenton, FL accident attorney at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh today.