Articles Posted in Golf Cart Injury

A 53-year-old Live Oak, Florida man was instantly killed after being hit by a car on Oct. 16 while pushing a golf cart along a Suwanee County road.

According to Florida Highway Patrol, the man was pushing a 1990 EZ-Go golf cart when he was hit from behind by a 1999 Toyota sedan.

The man was pronounced dead shortly after 5:30 p.m. by the Suwannee County Fire Rescue.

Charges are pending following further investigation into the accident, according to FHP.

Motorized golf carts are not just limited to the putting green. In fact, while many people drive their carts to and from the course, some communities in Florida have designated these carts as their preferred mode of transportation. With the amount of people trading in their cars for carts, statistics show a surge in injuries and fatalities. According to The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, golf cart injuries have risen a whopping 132 percent from 1990 to 2006. Close to 150,000 people, varying in age from 2 months to 96 years, suffered injuries related to a golf cart accidents throughout this period . In 2009, more than 1,600 golf cart accidents in Florida were reported. The Florida Golf Cart Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton handle a wide range of golf cart accidents including, automobile collisions, intersection smash-ups, passenger ejections, pedestrian accidents, cart rollovers and country club or golfing accidents.

Golf carts have become much more powerful and faster over the years and are widely used at sporting events, hospitals, airports, parks, college campuses, businesses and military bases. Golf carts can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour and can travel 40 miles on a single battery charge, making them a popular ride choice for many residents of retirement and gated communities. Typically, golf carts are not subject to federal regulations and in some areas a driver’s license is not required to operate one. Since many golf carts lack stability mechanisms and safety features like seat belts, common injuries from an accident can include catastrophic injuries such as head and brain trauma, broken bones, neck and back injuries, injuries to the face or sternum, road rash, serious lacerations and fractures. The Florida Golf Cart Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton work hard to ensure that you and your loved ones get properly diagnosed and treated for any injuries and recover damages for any lasting disability or wrongful death.

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Within the last five years, nearly 10 residents at The Villages in Sumter County, FL have been killed in golf cart-related accidents. Injuries caused by golf cart and other recreational vehicle accidents can include amputations, fractures, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord paralysis and death.

A resident of The Villages died last month from injuries sustained in a golf cart accident after it collided head-on with a Jeep Wrangler.

According to reports, the man’s wife was driving the cart around 9 p.m. on June 16 when the golf cart entered a traffic circle going the wrong way and smashed into the Jeep. The man and the woman were ejected from the cart and sent to area hospitals for their injuries.

The man reportedly died around noon on June 19. His wife was listed as in stable condition at the Orlando Regional Medical Center.

Many Florida tourists and residents take advantage of summer weather by sporting the streets in recreational vehicles, like golf carts. Golf cart fatalities and injuries are becoming more and more common in residential neighborhoods and retirement communities throughout the state of Florida. In 2009, more than 1,600 golf cart accidents in Florida were reported. Many golf cart fatalities occur from disobeying traffic laws or operating the cart in a reckless manner. The Florida Golf Cart Accident Attorneys at Whittel & Melton handle a wide range of golf cart accidents including, automobile collisions, intersection smash-ups, drunk driving catastrophes, rollovers and country club or golfing accidents.

With more than 55 retirement communities located in Florida, roadways and congested areas are being traveled by retirees on golf carts to get from the golf course, neighbors homes, community events and for any other routine driving purposes. Golf carts used as primary modes of transportation share the streets and roadways with larger and faster-paced vehicles, which can put drivers and passengers at a greater risk for accidents.

It is important to remember that in the hours and even days following your accident, do not give a recorded statement to the insurance company. Despite their friendly demeanor, insurance adjusters will do anything to avoid paying the costs associated with your accident. Prior to making any statements, call Whittel & Melton for a confidential consultation toll free at 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).

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A new study by doctors at the Georgia Health Sciences University has shown that golf cart injuries are a leading cause of serious head trauma across the country. The study was published in June and identified a total of 68 patients treated for golf cart-related injuries from 2000 to 2009 at GHSU, a level 1 trauma center.

While the study only focused on trauma center patients, more than two-thirds suffered severe head injuries associated with loss of consciousness, hemorrhage or skull fracture. Nearly 60 percent of the trauma patients treated were children around the age of 9. In 59 percent of the injuries treated among victims over the age of 16, alcohol was found to be a factor. Around 38 percent of the victims suffered injuries from being ejected from the golf cart, with roll-over accidents causing around the same number of tragedies. The last 16 injuries were sustained in collisions with motorcycles and stationary objects.

The study noted that with the use of golf carts and buggies of low speeds in many retirement communities, like The Villages, most drivers are passengers are failing to wear helmets and protective gear that could keep them safe from injuries. Golf carts are usually not equipped with doors and lack certain safety features like seat belts, mirrors and lights. The fact is that golf carts are one of the less stable modes of transportation and unexpected rollovers and ejections are very likely to happen. Being ejected from a golf cart going 20 miles per hour can leave victims with grave injuries as a result of a hard fall.

A previous study performed in 2008 by the Center for Injury Sciences at the University of Alabama peered into the estimated 48,255 golf cart-related injuries that happened across the U.S. from 2002-2005 and identified the most common injuries that have caused a 130 percent jump in golf cart-related injuries from 1990-2006. The results showed that golf cart injury victims are highest amongst the 10- to- 19-year-olds as well as people over the age of 80.

The most common diagnosis for lower extremity and hip injuries were found to be cuts and bruises. Fractures were most common in shoulder and upper extremity injuries and intracranial injuries associated with the head and neck were most commonly defined with concussions and hemorrhaging.

The researchers at GHSU said the main issues associated with the injuries described in these studies seem to be the vehicle design safety, driver competence and injury prevention. For residential communities like The Villages, these are huge issues when traveling to community destinations off the golf course like grocery stores, restaurants, the bank or even swimming pools and tennis courts. A combination of added features can make your slow-speed buggy more user friendly, such as front wheel brakes, adjusting the steering wheel position for better balance, installing safety belts and wearing safety helmets.

Remember to never allow children to use a golf cart unsupervised.

In the 90s the U.S. saw an average of 5,000 golf cart-related accident injuries in a year, but today with the use of golf carts on roadways outside the golf course, we are seeing and upward movement of 13,000 golf cart accident injuries a year. An estimated 43,000 residents in The Villages own golf carts for the purposes navigating through their community. Residents use their golf carts as an alternative form of travel or some use them as a hobby, like the Streetrod Club that is known for reconstructing their carts to resemble classic cars, vintage speedsters and even military-inspired Hummers.

Golf carts usually max out at a speed of 20 miles per hour, but it is possible to rebuild a golf cart to perform at higher speeds, sometimes climbing up to 40 miles per hour, which makes getting around easier, faster and less safe. Golf carts were not originally intended for this sort of use, so in addition to installing proper safety features it is vital to obey Florida’s traffic laws. The Villages offers brochures that can educate you on how to remain safe when traveling on your golf cart and they even offer a Golf Cart Safety Clinic.

Within the last five years, it has been estimated that nearly 10 residents of The Villages have been killed due to golf cart-related accidents. The dangers associated with golf carts are very real, so it is important to always err on the side of caution by driving safely and using keen judgment.

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