Most people associate golf cart accidents with golf courses, believing this is the only place golf carts are found. In fact, there are numerous places where golf carts are used commonly including shopping centers, housing complexes and even in several workplaces to help employees get around large facilities. Unfortunately, golf cart accidents happen at a staggering rate, in some cases, 10,000 or more annually according to some reports.
Mobility and safety
One of the reasons many people do not associate golf carts with serious injuries is because in most cases, they do not move at more than 20 miles per hour. However, these light-weight portable vehicles also do not offer basic safety features like seatbelts. Oftentimes, a minor problem could result in drivers and passengers being ejected from the vehicle because of the lack of restraints. In addition, oftentimes passengers travel on the rear of the vehicle, which means they are even more at risk of injury.
Types of injuries
The types of injuries seen in golf cart accidents can vary greatly from bumps and bruises to death. Rollovers can result in passengers or drivers being trapped under the vehicle or when the riders are ejected, they can suffer serious head trauma. Between 1984 and 20012, OSHA tracked more than 100 accidents involving golf carts. Some of the types of injury are shocking including drowning, strangulation and broken bones. Some specific types of injuries include:
- Broken bones – broken bones are one common result of golf cart accidents. Some are caused by the cart tipping and trapping the occupants while others are caused when occupants lose their balance exiting the cart. In some cases, people are struck by a golf cart and this may cause broken bones
- Crushing accidents – when a golf cart tips over, the passenger or driver may be trapped under the cart. While lighter than a typical vehicle, being trapped underneath can still cause crushing including lungs, legs, and backs. Depending on the severity and the amount of time it takes to release someone from under a golf cart, the outcome could be death.
- Head trauma – drivers or passengers can suffer severe head trauma from a golf cart accident, oftentimes resulting in death. Passengers who are traveling on the back of the vehicle often are at greater risk of being thrown off the golf cart and landing in a way that results in serious head injuries. Drivers may also be thrown from the vehicle, especially in a rollover which often results in traumatic head injuries
Causes of accidents
The causes of golf cart accidents are as varied as they are for car accidents. A rollover can occur due to numerous factors including uneven weight, or an uneven traveling surface. Other causes of accidents may include:
- Sun glare – some accidents are caused because the golf cart operator is blinded by bright sunlight. In these cases, the driver may lose control of the cart injuring themselves and their passengers
- Speed – while golf carts are designed to travel about 20 miles per hour, this does not mean this is the speed that is safe for all surfaces
- Equipment failure – golf carts must be properly maintained to make sure breaks do not fail, gas pedals do not stick, etc. In some cases, poor maintenance can cause equipment failure resulting in subsequent golf cart injuries
Surprisingly enough, many golf cart accidents involve children. With more than 10,000 golf cart accidents occurring annually, and the range of injuries varying between bumps and bruises and death, golf cart safety is a major concern. Remember, golf cart accidents do not occur only on golf courses, Those who are injured in a golf cart accident may be entitled to compensation from the cart owner and should contact a personal injury attorney for guidance.