Authorities reported to WSVN 7 News that the golf cart reportedly ran a stop sign and was struck by a Dodge Caliber and then overturned. Victims were between the ages of 3 and 16. The toddler was reportedly injured, but continued to say over and over, “I’m Ok, I’m Ok,” according to a witness.
Two of the other passengers, ages 12 and 16, were taken to the hospital via helicopter as trauma alerts, which indicates critical injury. The 12-year-old, a boy, was most critically injured and reportedly suffered swelling and bleeding of the brain. The other children were treated and released.
In a situation like this, our Miami-Dade child injury lawyers know that liability in this case could depend on a few different factors. One will be who was operating the golf cart. A person need only be 14 to operate a golf cart, according to F.S. 316.212, but operation on public roads is restricted except as outlined in specific scenarios in the statute. For example, it can only be operated on county roads in situations where the county has conducted an analysis to determine operation of golf carts is safe there.
But of course, the presence of many gated communities and proximity to golf courses make it a popular mode of transportation. It’s imperative that owners and operators of golf carts take into consideration where they are allowed to travel with the vehicle and the roads and byways they must avoid.
Part of the problem is that other drivers of larger, faster motor vehicles aren’t anticipating golf cart traffic, so they may not react as quickly as they otherwise might.
The other issue is that the law does not require seat belts to be worn while the vehicle is in motion, and in fact, many if not most golf carts aren’t even equipped with seat belts.
Although Florida tends to have a reputation as a laid-back vacation destination, it’s precisely this lassaiz faire attitude toward safety that results in so many Florida golf cart injuries and deaths every year.
Researchers with the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System report there were 150,000 injuries between 1990 and 2006 that involved golf cart accidents. More recent incidents indicate there are 15,000 new injury cases every single year.
The point is that these are not freak accidents. The causes are known and the risks are preventable.
While this case out of Miami-Dade made headlines for the fact that it involved five children, even this isn’t all that unusual. In fact, one-third of all golf cart injuries are children under the age of 13. Even at low speeds, injuries to young children can be quite serious, especially when there is a rollover — which is 10 percent of all golf cart accidents.
And of course, this is exactly what happened in the most recent case. The children’s grandmother, who heard the accident not realizing it was her own grandchildren, said her grandchildren and others in the community routinely traveled around in golf carts.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury in a golf cart accident, our Miami injury lawyers can help answer your questions.
If you have been a victim of a traffic accident, call Chalik & Chalik at (954) 476-1000 or 1 (800) 873-9040.
5 children hospitalized after golf cart collides with car, July 4, 2016, Staff Report, WSVN 7-News
More Blog Entries:
New Federal Law Improves Safety of Rental Cars, July 9, 2016, Miami Personal Injury Lawyer Blog