Many people in Houston and in other parts of Texas have ridden in golf carts both on and off golf courses at some point in their lives. People use these low-speed vehicles to travel to their local stores as well as on college campuses and elsewhere. While these vehicles are generally viewed as safe, many people in Texas and across the nation are seriously injured every year in golf cart accidents. According to a report in the New York Times, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that an estimated 18,000 golf cart accidents in 2015 required hospitalization. If you have suffered a serious injury in a golf cart accident, getting help from an experienced Houston golf cart accident attorney at the Ammons Law Firm may help you to preserve your legal rights to recovery.
The issues with golf carts
In Texas, it is common to see golf carts traveling on the public roadways. Under the law in Texas, people are allowed to operate golf carts on public roads in the following areas and situations:
- For travel in master-planned communities
- Within a two-mile radius of where the golf carts are normally parked
- To travel to and from golf courses
- To cross roads at intersections that have speed limits of more than 35 mph
Golf carts do not have to be registered or titled, and they may be operated on roads if they have a slow-moving vehicle emblem. Cities within the state can pass ordinances allowing golf carts to be operated on public roads that have speeds of 35 mph or less. If they do, the golf carts must have insurance and the following minimum equipment:
- Headlamps and tail lamps
- Parking brakes
One notable piece of safety equipment that is not required for golf carts in Texas is seatbelts. A study that was reported in the journal American Surgeon found that 40 percent of golf cart injuries happen when people are ejected from the vehicles. Among the accidents that were included in the study, 76 percent occurred on public streets. While you might view golf carts as safe way to travel, riding in a golf cart leaves you as exposed to potential injuries as riding on a bicycle or walking because the carts afford little protection to you when they are involved in accidents.
Common types of golf cart accidents
Golf cart accidents may be caused by operator error or from the design of golf carts. They may also result from the negligence of motorists who are sharing the roads with the golf carts. Some of the common types of accidents that may be due to design problems include the following:
- Tip-over accidents
- Falling out or being ejected because of lack of restraints
- Open sides that can lead to occupants being thrown from the carts
- Poor maintenance by companies that own golf carts for people to use
Additionally, golf cart occupants may be injured in accidents that are caused by negligent motorists.
Suffering a serious injury in a golf cart accident can leave you with mounting expenses and income losses while you recover. If your accident was caused by design problems or the negligence of a motorist, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.