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Can I File A Lawsuit if I Was Hurt By Golf Cart in Baltimore?

Like motor vehicle accidents, golf cart accidents occur every day in Baltimore. Amazingly, “more than 6,500 children are hurt by golf carts every year, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Just more than half those injured are children under 12.”

An experienced Baltimore personal injury attorney will conduct a detailed analysis to determine legal rights and responsibilities after a Baltimore golf cart accident. Common golf cart accidents can occur due to various factors, including operator error, lack of awareness, and negligence. Some of the most frequent golf cart accidents include:

  • Rollovers: Golf carts have a high center of gravity, making them prone to tipping over, especially when turning sharply or driving on uneven terrain.
  • Collisions: Accidents can happen when golf carts collide with other vehicles, stationary objects, or pedestrians.
  • Falls: Passengers or even the driver can fall from a moving golf cart if they lean out too far or if the cart makes a sudden turn.
  • Overloading: Exceeding the recommended weight capacity of the golf cart can lead to mechanical failures, loss of control, or tire blowouts.
  • Speeding: Driving at excessive speeds can make it difficult to control the cart, especially when navigating corners or slopes.
  • Impaired driving: Operating a golf cart under the influence of alcohol or drugs can impair judgment and reaction times, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Inadequate braking: Worn-out or poorly maintained brakes can lead to longer stopping distances and an increased risk of collisions.
  • Driving on steep slopes: Descending steep slopes can cause the cart to accelerate uncontrollably, potentially leading to accidents.
  • Lack of visibility: Golf carts are relatively small vehicles, and sometimes other drivers or pedestrians may not see them, resulting in collisions.
  • Distracted driving: Using mobile phones, adjusting the radio, or engaging in other distractions while driving can lead to accidents.
    Mechanical failures: Faulty steering, brake failure, or other mechanical issues can cause accidents even when the driver is operating the cart safely.

Another factor of course is the age, training, and experiences of the operator. Allowing inexperienced or underage drivers to operate golf carts without proper supervision can increase the likelihood of accidents. It goes without saying or seemingly certainly should that, a three-year-old child should never be in a position where they could operate a piece of potentially lethal machinery like a golf cart. This tragic story raises questions about the actors potentially liable in the scenario. Maryland law, not unlike the law in every other jurisdiction, does not impose criminal or civil liability on three-year-old children in any situation.  Having said that, the outrage that can flow from an event such as this may well lead to greater scrutiny and a larger chorus of voices calling for justice.

While golf carts are generally designed for slow speeds and are considered relatively safe compared to regular cars, they can still cause injuries if not used properly or in certain situations, even when operated by adults. Some common ways people can be hurt by golf carts include:

  • Accidents: Golf carts can collide with other objects, vehicles, or people if they are not operated responsibly. Sharp turns, speeding, or reckless driving can lead to accidents.
  • Falls: Golf carts do not have the same stability as cars, so passengers or drivers may fall out if the cart turns suddenly or encounters rough terrain.
  • Overturns: When driven on steep slopes or uneven terrain, golf carts can tip over, potentially causing injury to the occupants.
  • Getting caught or run over: If someone accidentally falls in front or behind a moving golf cart, they can get run over or caught by the wheels.
  • Mechanical failures: Faulty brakes or other mechanical issues with the golf cart can lead to accidents and injuries.
  • Reckless behavior: Standing or hanging off the sides of a moving golf cart, using it to perform stunts, or other reckless behaviors can increase the risk of injury.

To minimize the risk of injury when using a golf cart, it is essential to follow safety guidelines, drive at safe speeds, avoid sharp turns, be cautious on uneven terrain, and ensure the cart is well-maintained. Additionally, using seat belts and requiring passengers to remain seated can help prevent injuries. Always familiarize yourself with local regulations and safety recommendations for golf cart usage in your area.

If the accident were to occur in Baltimore, Maryland, some questions would likely arise. If the child is not responsible, no doubt some will seek compensation from the parent. Is it a parent who has failed? Is it another person or entity standing in loco parentis, [e.g. a daycare center or similar organization] that has failed to properly supervise the child. If such a responsible entity is recognized, is there insurance that could potentially cover any judgment awarded against identity for a failure to supervise or failure to prevent?  What ultimately is the theory of responsibility? Is it negligence? In Maryland negligence cases, a principle known as “foreseeability” may come into play. A logical question that might arise in this circumstance would be is it foreseeable the three-year-old could gain control of and operate a golf cart?