Golfers primarily employ golf carts to get around vast golf courses, but they are also used in a variety of other settings. While not motor vehicles, golf carts can still be very dangerous.
Golf cart injuries might occur if you are struck by someone negligently driving a golf cart or if you are operating the golf cart and something causes you to crash. You can often file a lawsuit for your damages after a golf cart accident, and whom you sue depends on how and where the accident occurred. In some cases, liability falls to the golf cart driver. In others, liability falls to the owner of the property where the crash happened. Proving your claims requires evidence, and the evidence you need depends on why and how your accident occurred.
Call (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free case review with our Baltimore ATV attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras.
How Golf Car Accidents and Injuries Might Occur in Maryland
While most people associate golf carts with golf courses, they are used in various places for numerous purposes. As such, accidents involving golf carts might happen under a myriad of circumstances.
As mentioned, golf carts are most associated with golfing and golf courses. A typical 18-hole golf course is several miles wide, and getting from one end to the other during a game of golf could be exhausting. If a golfer is riding their golf cart but not paying attention, going too fast, or being negligent, they might cause an accident with another cart or someone walking by.
Golf carts are also used on private property. For example, people with large estates might use golf carts to get around. A rancher might use a golf cart to traverse their property while going about daily chores. There might be no real rules or laws regarding golf cart safety on private property, and drivers might be more inclined to be reckless.
You might see golf carts anywhere people or workers must quickly get around large areas. Large warehouses, farms, and amusement parks might have golf carts allowing people and employees to navigate the area. An accident could occur if the driver is negligent or if the property is unsafe.
Can I File a Lawsuit for a Golf Cart Accident in Maryland?
Many golf cart lawsuits are straightforward personal injury lawsuits where the golf cart driver is sued for their negligence. To prove negligence, our Maryland ATV attorneys must establish four important legal elements regarding the defendant’s behavior: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
The duty element involves the defendant’s duty to drive with reasonable safety under the circumstances. How reasonable safety is defined may vary based on where the accident occurred, such as on a golf course versus someone’s private property. The breach is how the golf cart driver violated their duty of care, perhaps by recklessly speeding or driving the golf cart in violation of safety rules imposed by the golf course. Causation is how the breach is connected to the accident. Essentially, the breach must be the direct cause of your accident. Finally, you must prove your damages are real, not close calls or possibilities.
In other cases, golf cart accidents happen because the property where the cart is used is unsafe. For example, rough terrain or property with steep downward slopes might be too dangerous for golf carts to be used safely. In those cases, your lawsuit is based on the property owner’s failure to maintain the property safely.
If the accident was caused due to a malfunction in the golf cart, you might instead have a product liability lawsuit. You would need to demonstrate to the court how the malfunction occurred and that you were safely using the golf cart for its intended purpose.
Lawsuits might be a better option in golf cart accident cases because many golf cart owners do not insure these vehicles. Since these are not motor vehicles meant for travel on public roads, they are not legally required to be insured, and there might not be an insurance policy to help you cover your damages.
Liability in Maryland Gold Cart Accident Lawsuits
With so many different options for lawsuits for golf cart accidents, you need to make sure you are suing the correct defendants. While many golf cart accident cases are filed against the driver, other parties might also be liable.
If you have a premises liability lawsuit because unsafe conditions on the property caused your accident, you can sue the property owner. If the accident occurred on someone’s private property, you can sue that private landowner. Accidents often happen at country clubs and golf courses because of unsafe hazards. In those cases, you can also name the country club or golf course business as the defendant.
If a malfunction or defect in the golf cart itself is responsible for the accident, your product liability lawsuit should be filed against the cart manufacturer. Not only that, but you may sue anyone in the chain of sale of the golf cart, including retailers who sold the cart. Contact our Baltimore personal injury lawyers.
How to Prove Your Claims in a Maryland Golf Cart Accident Lawsuit
Proving your claims requires evidence of your injuries and how the accident occurred. The evidence you need to collect will differ based on the nature of your claim. Generally, evidence should establish the four elements of negligence discussed above.
The person or people who owed you a duty of care in a product liability case will differ from those in a premises liability case. For example, in a product liability case, you must prove who manufactured the defective golf cart and how the defect caused the accident. In a premises liability case, you need to prove who owned the property where the accident happened, and how the unsafe condition on that property played into the accident.
Some common evidence includes photos from the accident scene, photos of your injuries, your medical records, and testimony from witnesses. Remember, evidence is unique to your situation, and you should speak with a lawyer about how and where to find evidence.
Call Our Maryland ATV Attorneys for Help Today
Call (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free case review with our Maryland personal injury attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras.