Georgia Golf Cart Accident Lawyer

Golfer driving golf cart on golf course in summer sunny dayGolf carts seem safe because they usually cannot go more than 15 to 20 miles per hour. However, serious — even fatal — accidents can occur when a cart is not driven appropriately. Since golf carts lack basic safety features typical of automobiles, such as seatbelts, an accident can have devastating consequences.

If you were harmed in a golf cart accident, you may be able to sue for damages. With the help of an excellent personal injury lawyer in Georgia, you can get compensation for injuries that were not your fault.

At Scholle Law, our Georgia golf cart accident lawyers have over 20 years of experience helping injured clients get the compensation they deserve. Call us at (866) 592-1296 or contact us online today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Golf Carts Laws and Statistics in Georgia

Golf carts on concrete pathwayIn 2011, Georgia Senate Bill 240 allowed golf carts to drive on roads up to 20 miles per hour. Anyone with a valid driver’s license or permit to operate a golf cart alone. However, anyone above the age of 12 can operate a cart as long as they are accompanied by a licensed driver over the age of 18. 

This statute created an increased risk of car collisions with golf carts. Since these accidents have a higher chance of resulting in a severe injury or fatality, there is a significant cause for concern.

While Georgia does not provide much data regarding annual accidents including golf carts, there is national data: From 2007 to 2017, more than 156,000 people went to the emergency room for treatment after a golf cart accident. Within the decade of study, the number and rate of injuries did not fluctuate much from year to year.

While adults involved in golf cart crashes suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) at a rate of 0.5 per 100,000 adults involved in such incidents, the rate for children was nearly triple that: 1.6 TBIs per 100,000 children injured. Among older adults, the rate was 1.1 TBIs per 100,000 injuries. 

These numbers can be dizzying, to say the least. The important takeaway is that golf carts are not nearly as safe as many people believe. Unfortunately, these dangers are often ignored, especially in areas like Peachtree City, where about 11,000 registered golf carts are used to get around much more often than cars.

 

Common Golf Cart Injuries in Georgia

Physician Examining SportsmanThe severity of injuries from a golf cart accident varies depending on the speed of the golf cart, the location of the mishap, and whether the golf cart came into contact with other vehicles. The location of the passengers in the cart also affects what kind of injuries occur.

Since golf carts do not have doors, significant bumper protection, and often do not have seat belts for individuals to wear, an impact with an object or vehicle can cause catastrophic, and even fatal, injuries. Individuals may be flung from the vehicle or be the first contact with the oncoming vehicle.

Common golf car injuries include:

  • Broken bones
  • Sprains and strains
  • Whiplash
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Knee and shoulder injuries
  • Neck and face injuries
  • Bruising
  • Coma
  • Death
 

Where Do Golf Cart Accidents Happen?

Because golf carts are used on roads, golf courses, and other areas, accidents can happen just about anywhere in Georgia. Be on alert for golf carts when you are in the following common places where golf cart accidents happen:

Golf Courses

Black golfer driving a golf cartGolf carts are the most common way to get around a golf course (hence the name). The long walks between holes and even between shots are cut short by driving in a golf cart. However, golf courses do not often teach their drivers how to operate the machine safely. Alcohol is common both on the course and in the clubhouse, which can increase the risk of accidents.

Residential Communities 

Neighborhoods are common places for golf carts to be used to help local residents, especially older people, get around. This prevents the need for cars and can help if the individuals are not capable of driving. However, these areas are also popular pedestrian zones, and golf cart drivers may not be paying adequate attention while operating their vehicle.

Small Towns

Smaller towns sometimes use golf carts as their main mode of transportation. These vehicles can drive on rough terrain better than scooters or bicycles, but do not cost as much as a car. Some towns, like Peachtree City, have installed paths and roadway lanes specifically for golf carts.

Public Roads 

Some people drive their golf carts along roads beside other vehicles. This is extremely dangerous, as golf carts have a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour. A collision with a motor vehicle can be fatal for those riding in the golf cart.

Resorts 

Resorts, especially during the summer months, use golf carts to assist passengers in getting from local cottages or villas to the main building. They may even offer golf carts to the visitors to drive themselves. This can be dangerous if vacationers do not know how to safely operate the vehicle. 

 

Causes of Golf Cart Accidents in Georgia

Two golf carts being driven on golf cart pathGolf car accidents are typically the result of driver error, either on the part of the cart operator or the driver of another vehicle. Since carts only go 15 to 25 miles per hour, it is difficult for a malfunction alone to cause serious injuries.

Drivers often see golf carts as a toy rather than a mechanical vehicle with the power to cause injuries, so they may not take their responsibility seriously.

Common causes of golf cart accidents include:

  • Reckless golf cart driving
  • Driving while impaired
  • Taking sharp turns at high speeds, thus flipping the golf cart
  • Overloading the golf cart with passengers
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving on muddy, wet, or uneven ground, especially when doing so at high speeds
  • Reversing downhill
  • Hanging limbs outside of the vehicle
  • Not putting on the brake when exiting the vehicle

 

Contact a Georgia Golf Cart Accident Attorney Today

annette malena, charles scholle, todd shugart group photo

From left: Attorneys Annette Malena, Charles Scholle,
and Todd I. Shugart

If you have been injured in a golf cart accident, it is important to speak with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. You may have been injured from a collision with another vehicle, or you may have been a passenger in a cart with a reckless operator.

No matter the circumstances, if the injury was caused by someone else’s actions or negligence, the personal injury lawyers at Scholle Law can help you handle your insurance claim to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your damages.

Dealing with insurance companies is always a hassle. They may try to deny your right to a golf cart accident claim, since carts are often not considered “motor vehicles.”

With the help of a lawyer who will not back down, you can get the compensation you are owed. 

At Scholle Law, our Georgia golf cart accident lawyers have over 20 years of experience helping injured clients get the compensation they deserve. Call us at (866) 592-1296 or contact us online today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

 

In Georgia, golf carts cannot weigh more than 1,375 pounds, according to a 2011 statute. However, most golf carts vary in weight. Some can be as light as 500 pounds, while others weigh in around 1,100 pounds. A standard two-passenger golf cart is about 750 pounds. Electric golf carts are heavier, weighing about 925 pounds for a two-passenger cart.

In Georgia, it is legal to drive golf carts on the road up to 20 miles per hour. To do so, your golf cart will need to meet certain safety regulations, including having a seat belt and tail lights. Depending on where you live in Georgia, your area may even have golf cart-only lanes, similar to bike lanes, that drive alongside traffic to make your commute safer. Be careful driving a golf cart near cars, as they pose a significant threat of injury if there is an accident.

Drivers need a valid license in Georgia to operate a golf cart on their own. You must be over 16 and legally allowed to drive a car. However, anyone above 12 years old can drive a golf cart if they are accompanied by a licensed driver over the age of 18. This is allowed on roadways and golf courses.

Adults should operate with caution when allowing children to drive golf carts on roads. These busy areas can be extremely dangerous, especially for someone who is not familiar with the rules of the road.

It depends on whether or not you own the golf car in which you have the accident. If you own the golf cart, your homeowner’s insurance may include some level of protection. However, it is a good idea to invest in golf cart insurance to cover damage to your vehicle and personal injury, both for yourself and for others if you are at fault.

Homeowner’s insurance will only cover golf carts on golf courses. Golf cart insurance will cover a damaged vehicle on city streets, as well as on a golf course.

There are many factors involved in determining liability in a golf cart accident. They are often used on private property, are maintained by third parties, and require no special training.

These common circumstances may help you determine who is at fault:

  • If the issue was caused by a mechanical error in the golf cart, the country club or mechanic may be at fault
  • Inappropriate behavior by the driver makes them liable for any accidents
  • If the driver is a golf course employee, the golf course may be liable
  • If the driver was a teen or child, their parent is liable
  • If the country club did not properly warn you about using the golf cart, they could be liable for an accident you caused
  • The premises could be liable if their poor maintenance caused the accident