New Georgia Study Reveals High Risk of Head Injuries in Golf Cart Accidents


August 17, 2011

Golf carts are a popular mode of recreational activity on the golf course as well as off the course in Georgia. Although golf carts can be fun, they also are prone to rollover accidents that can result in serious head trauma. Whether you are tooling around a private community enjoying the summer sun or on vacation trying to get in a relaxing round of golf, golf carts can pose a substantial risk of serious injuries.

A recent study conducted by researchers at Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta found that the facility treated 68 injury victims in golf cart accidents.

The injuries suffered in golf car accidents tend to be serious according to the data. The study revealed that approximately 66 percent of accidents involving golf carts resulted in significant head injuries including loss of consciousness, skull fractures or hemorrhages. The largest number of golf cart injury accidents resulted from vehicle ejections (26 patients) and rollover accidents (26 patients). The balance of the injuries occurred in motor vehicle crashes (13 patients) and collisions with stationary objects (3 patients).

It is hardly surprising that driving under the influence of alcohol was a substantial factor in a majority of golf cart accidents. Almost two-thirds of all golf cart accidents that necessitated trips to the emergency room by patients over age 16 were alcohol-related accidents. "The most startling concerns were the large number of drivers who drank enough alcohol to impair judgment and their assertiveness when traveling on roads that resulted in collisions with motor vehicles," said study leader Dr. Brian McKinnon, an assistant professor of otology and neurotology at Georgia Health Science University.

Many golf carts either lack basic safety equipment or have been modified so that they are dangerous and only vaguely resemble a golf cart. Most golf carts lack seatbelts and have no roll cage even though their narrow wheelbase makes them prone to rollover accidents. Further, some golf cart-type vehicles (often called “street carts”) are designed to move at rates of speed comparable with a regular passenger car and are even street legal. These potential design defects are often compounded by modifications made by custom golf cart shops that put lift kits on golf carts making them even more unstable and prone to rollover accidents.

The researchers point out the complete lack of safety gear associated with golf carts. Those who use golf carts almost never wear helmets to protect from head injuries and the carts lack doors, roll cages, air bags or seat belts. The lack of safety equipment, defective design and unsafe shop modification of street carts and golf carts is even more tragic because sixty percent of the emergency room patients in the recent golf cart injury study were under the age of 9.

There are many parties that may be liable for a golf cart or street cart accident including:

  • Those negligently driving other motor vehicles.
  • Property owners' associations of public communities that permit golf carts on streets.
  • Manufacturers or retailers that place defective golf carts on the market.
  • Public entities that design unsafe roadways or fail to properly maintain streets in a safe condition.
  • Street cart shops that soup up golf carts with unsafe modifications or inadequate warnings.
  • The driver of the golf cart.

If you are injured or have a loved one injured in a golf cart collision, the experienced street cart accident lawyers and golf cart collision attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing personal injury victims in Atlanta and throughout Georgia for over 27 years. Our Atlanta injury lawyers and Atlanta golf cart accident attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

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