A golf cart accident lawyer going over an envelope of case documents with her client off-frame.

Golf carts, originally designed for easy transportation on golf courses, have gained popularity for other purposes, with some people riding them in residential areas. Here in Utah, they are often utilized by tourists, and some outdoor attractions rent them out. While many perceive golf carts as safe due to their limited speed, the risk of injury is higher than commonly believed. Unlike cars or other motor vehicles, golf carts lack essential safety features such as seatbelts, airbags, and strong roll cages. Even at speeds of 10-20 miles per hour, passengers can be ejected and sustain injuries in collisions. If the cart’s owner makes modifications to increase its speed or rides on a street with cars, the risks can be even higher.

Do You Need a Salt Lake City Golf Cart Accident Attorney?

Identifying who was at fault in a golf cart accident can be confusing because multiple parties may share responsibility under Utah law. Potentially liable parties include:

  • The golf cart driver. If the person driving the cart was reckless, intoxicated, or distracted, their negligence might have caused the accident.
  • The golf cart’s owner. There are several situations where the cart’s owner could be liable. If they loaned the cart to someone who didn’t know how to drive one or was intoxicated, for example, the owner could be at fault. In other situations, the owner of a cart may have failed to keep it in good condition so it could be driven safely. If they then loaned the unsafe cart to a friend or rented it out in a commercial situation (such as a business that rents golf carts), the owner could be liable.
  • The property owner. Sometimes an accident isn’t caused by careless driving or a poorly maintained golf cart but by external factors. If these hazards are present on the property and were not addressed by the owner, then the owner might be responsible. For example, imagine that your golf club did some remodeling, and at one point, the workers dug a large hole in the course. They didn’t fence off this area or put up a sign warning about it, so you weren’t expecting this hazard as you drove the course. In this situation, the golf club might be liable.
  • Passengers. It’s surprisingly common to see golf cart accidents where a passenger caused or contributed to the crash. Remember that golf carts are boxy, top-heavy, and easy to flip – a passenger who hangs off the side or tries to stand on the cart could cause the cart to tip over. We also frequently see people who were injured because their arm was hanging out the cart window or their foot was dragging the ground, and the cart got too close to another object. Unfortunately, broken ankles and arm injuries often occur in these situations.
  • Mechanics or service workers. If your golf cart malfunctioned due to an error made by a mechanic or someone working on the cart, this third party might be liable.
  • Golf cart manufacturers or component manufacturers. Sometimes the cart is defective or has a defective part right when it ships from the manufacturer. If we can identify a defect that led to your crash, we may be able to seek compensation from the manufacturer.
  • Other drivers involved in collisions. If your golf cart was hit by another cart, or a car or larger vehicle, the driver of that other vehicle could be responsible.

As you can see, there are many possibilities for potential liability in a golf cart accident, and it may be difficult to figure out who was at fault on your own. In fact, sometimes clients tell us who they think was at fault, and it’s actually another party. An experienced golf cart accident lawyer can help you gather evidence and determine who should cover your damages.

Does Insurance Cover Golf Cart Accidents?

It depends on the situation, but in some cases, there is a relevant insurance policy. Another area where your golf cart accident lawyer can be helpful is in identifying insurance coverage that may help with some or all of your damages. Here are some examples:

  • Golf cart insurance. If you own the golf cart and have insurance on the cart specifically, it’s likely that at least some of your damages are covered. However, this is dependent on the specific policy you purchased. For example, some policies may only cover property damage on the cart, while a Medical Payments (MedPay) policy will cover your injuries. You can also buy insurance to cover guests’ medical bills if they are injured on your cart. The biggest potential problem here is that some people don’t know what their golf cart insurance policy does and doesn’t cover until they have an accident.
  • Homeowner’s insurance. Some, but not all, homeowner’s insurance policies will cover the owner’s golf cart in some situations. Unfortunately, we’ve had cases where the owner assumed homeowner’s insurance covered their golf cart, so they didn’t buy golf cart insurance and eventually found out that the cart wasn’t covered at all. If you’re going to rely on your homeowner’s policy for golf cart insurance, be sure to read it very carefully so you understand your coverage.
  • Passenger situations. As discussed above, if you were injured as a passenger in a golf cart, the owner’s golf cart or homeowner’s insurance may or may not cover your injuries. If not, we can still seek compensation from the responsible party.
  • Car insurance. If your golf cart was hit by a car and the car’s driver was at fault, their liability insurance should cover your injuries up to the policy limit. However, sometimes the injured person has difficulty collecting from the car insurance company. Often the car driver claims they were not at fault, and the insurance company agrees because it gives them an excuse to deny your claim. Another possible issue is that golf cart riders can suffer severe injuries when struck by a car (due to the lack of safety features we mentioned earlier). In some situations, the injured party’s damages may exceed the car driver’s liability insurance – which can be as little as $25,000 per person in bodily injury liability insurance and $15,000 in property damage.

Even if there is sufficient insurance coverage, dealing with the insurance company can be difficult, and many people don’t receive all the compensation they’re entitled to. Insurance company adjusters are notorious for undervaluing claims, and the average person doesn’t know how much their claim is really worth. The insurance adjuster may ignore some damages – such as your pain and suffering, permanent disability or disfigurement, or lost income. They may only offer compensation for current medical bills, although you may need more treatment in the future. Or, they might decide that some of your treatments were “unnecessary.”

Your golf cart accident lawyer will carefully calculate your damages and will wait to settle until your medical treatment is complete to ensure everything is included. If you are severely injured and will need ongoing care, they will calculate the cost of this care. The insurance adjuster is looking out for the insurance company, but your lawyer will always look out for you.

Additionally, your Salt Lake City personal injury attorney will consider other ways to cover your damages if the insurance policy is insufficient. They may be able to find other policies to cover some of your damages or file a lawsuit directly against the responsible party.

Do You Still Need a Lawyer If the Insurance Company Has Already Made You An Offer?

Yes, you should always have an attorney review any offer made by the insurance company. This is because of the issues we discussed in the previous section – your insurance adjuster may undervalue your claim, and their initial offer is frequently a lowball one that doesn’t cover everything. If the offer is reasonable, you can go ahead and accept it. But if not, your attorney can negotiate with the insurance company so you don’t have to. In many cases, we’ve identified damages that weren’t addressed or covered adequately and negotiated with the insurer to include this compensation for the injured party.

Is It Legal to Drive a Golf Cart on a Highway in Utah?

Maybe, depending on the location. Utah law mainly leaves this up to individual municipalities. Technically, driving a golf cart on a highway is illegal unless it is authorized by the local government in which the highway is located. Where it is legal, you will need to consult the local laws, which usually specify what is necessary to make a golf cart street legal, which streets you can drive on, who is allowed to drive a cart on the road, when carts are allowed on the road (sometimes they are allowed only during certain hours), etc. In most cases, golf carts are required to use the same rules of the road as a bicycle.

Call Our Salt Lake City Golf Cart Accident Law Firm Today

If you or a loved one have been injured in a golf cart accident, please contact Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers for a free consultation at 801-810-9999. There’s no obligation, and we’ll be happy to review your case, answer your questions, and explain your options for seeking compensation.

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Additional Questions?

We have helped many clients recover from injuries resulting from car accidents in West Valley, Salt Lake City, and the greater Utah area. We are here to help you recover after an accident. If you've been injured, don't hesitate to call Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We have recovered millions for our clients and we are ready to fight for you.

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