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Golf Cart Injuries: Who is Responsible?

Golf carts are now frequently being used off the course. We see golf carts used in neighborhoods, airports, malls, beaches, and schools, but manufacturers are making and selling tens of thousands of golf carts per year without essential basic safety features.

Limited Safety Features Were Not Meant for Use Beyond Cart Path

In 2015, golf cart accidents caused 18,000 people to be sent to the hospital due to injuries according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Nearly 40% of these accidents occur with drivers and passengers younger than age 16. (CPSC). These injuries are a direct result of companies still creating and designing these vehicles with safety standards set for golf course settings. Golf carts are being driven on roadways in neighborhoods, not just on cart paths. The limited safety features on golf carts designed for golfers on cart paths, are not adequate for use on roadways.

Laws for Golf Cart Use Vary from State to State

Always research the laws in the state you are living in or visiting for the laws on golf cart usage and insurance coverage. In Ohio, a golf cart used "off the green" is considered an Unconventional Vehicle, specifically an Under Speed Vehicle (USV). Ohio has specific statutes covering the use of golf carts (ORC §4511.215). However, cities and neighborhood associations may enact local ordinances and regulations that owners must comply with in order to use golf carts.

Who is Responsible for Ejection Injuries?

When someone is thrown from a golf cart, a multitude of individuals could be responsible. Every accident situation is unique. Those responsible could include the driver (and his/her employer), the golf cart owner, the golf cart distributor or seller, the cart manufacturer and the cart modifier.

Will Insurance Companies Cover Injuries?

In Ohio, a golf cart is not considered a motor vehicle (ORC §3937.30). Your automobile insurance will not cover injuries that result from a golf cart accident. Your homeowner's insurance may cover golf cart injuries. Some homeowner's policies require a golf cart endorsement on the policy to cover golf carts.

Advice for Owners of Golf Carts

If you own a golf cart, you should research all state laws, city or local ordinances, and any neighborhood association rules and regulations to see if any apply specifically to the ownership and use of golf carts. Exercise safety while driving or riding, add safety features, for example, seatbelts, and make sure your golf cart is covered by an insurance policy if an injury occurs.

Experience in Golf Cart Cases

We have successfully recovered money for people hurt in golf cart crashes throughout the state of Ohio - in fact, as far north as Put-In-Bay, Ohio. Currently in southern Ohio, we are pursuing a golf course because they negligently procured golf carts for their golf course - which has steep terrain - despite clear warnings that the carts should never be used on a slope more than 25% grade. Despite the warnings, the course purchased the cheaper golf carts and two golfers were seriously injured during a golf cart rollover crash going down a steep hill with a sharp turn.

If you have had an injury while using a golf cart, please contact the experienced attorneys at Rittgers & Rittgers for a free consultation.

Agosto, Benny, Jr. "Off Course." Trial, August 2018, pp. 52-53.

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