California Golf Cart Accident Lawyer
Golf carts are supposed to offer recreational fun, but they can also create danger. Mishaps and defective vehicles can lead to serious injuries. And when a golf cart becomes tangled up in a wreck with a much bigger, heavier passenger vehicle, the results can be devastating.
Fortunately, golf cart accident victims have options for pursuing compensation. The experienced legal team at Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law has years of experience helping victims of collisions caused by another party’s negligence. We are passionate about helping families through the recovery process and can guide you through the more stressful and confusing parts of your financial recovery.
If you have been injured in a golf cart accident, you have resources to help you. The situation can seem overwhelming, but with the help of a trusted attorney, you can walk through the claims process with confidence and support. Call (559) 878-4958 or Contact us online to speak with a member of our team and get started with a consultation appointment.
What Services Does a California Golf Cart Accident Attorney Provide?
Because golf cart accidents are considered special situations, having an attorney can help protect you from being taken advantage of in the settlement process. Insurers may often attempt to deny coverage for such an accident, partially or totally, out of a technicality. They are also prone to accusing golf cart riders of careless operation.
Managing the complexities of litigation can be difficult for a person who isn’t familiar with the ins and outs, but that’s what we’re here for. Our legal team is proud to guide victims through the tough parts of their litigation process. We represent them and their best interests as knowledgeable advocates, helping them do everything they can to recover financially.
When you work alone, you sacrifice beneficial resources and are left to blindly trust what you hear from the negligent party’s insurer. Do you know what your claim is worth? Are you confident negotiating with another person’s insurance representative?
A golf cart accident lawyer in California can act as your experienced set of eyes and ears, overseeing every step of the upcoming legal proceedings. Working with a professional is always the safest bet, but what services can legal aid provide?
The legal team at Singh Ahluwalia can:
- Manage both documents and communication: During the process of your personal injury claim, you’ll have to organize statements, evidence, and other documentation for later reference. An attorney can help you organize your claim paperwork and speak on your behalf with the insurer. Having a golf cart accident attorney speak on your behalf shows the insurance agent how serious you are about your settlement.
- Help you understand the laws and systems revolving around golf cart accident claims: Every situation is different, but the legal processes for a claim remain similar. Sometimes, the fine details of litigation can be confusing, and because the other party’s insurer is not your ally, they may not be the best place to go when you are confused or have questions. A personal injury attorney works for you, so a legal team like ours at Singh Ahluwalia can answer all of your questions and clarify the gray areas of the journey.
- Investigate the evidence of your claim: We exhaustively gather evidence to prove your injuries and your side of the story. We know that every detail is important, so we will deep-dive into the evidence of your claim and extract valuable details that we may need to present later in negotiations.
- Negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf: By far, one of the most daunting parts of litigation for the average person is negotiating the value of the claim. This is because it can be difficult to provide evidence that backs the number you present to the table. While insurance representatives have years of experience handling claims, you may not. A personal injury attorney has the relevant experience to sit at the negotiation table with confidence and represent your interests as the victim of the collision.
Assigning Fault in an Accident in California
The way to move forward with a collision claim varies by state, and California is an “at-fault” state in terms of coverage and negligence. Driving in an at-fault state means that whoever was at fault, e.g. causes the accident, is responsible for the damages caused. This differs from a no-fault state, which is a state that requires all accident victims to file a claim with their own insurance company after an accident.
Accordingly, to receive a settlement from a collision, you must be able to provide proof of the other party’s negligence. Many accident situations are straightforward to reconstruct, but some can be more difficult, especially when the victim played a part in the collision.
When trying to prove that another party was liable, an attorney will typically seek to show that the accused party committed an act of negligence. There are actually four main elements of negligence that must be established:
- Duty of care: Drivers on the road have a duty of care, meaning they must act responsibly when operating a vehicle on the road.
- Breach of duty: When a driver fails to uphold their responsibilities, by violating laws or failing to exercise ordinary care, that is considered a breach of duty.
- Causation: The at-fault driver’s breach of duty must have directly caused the accident that led to the corresponding injury.
- Damage: The accident caused you some type of mental or physical injury with monetary losses.
In some cases, the injury victim may be accused of sharing fault in the accident that led to their injury. California uses a comparative negligence system, which means that an injured plaintiff who partially caused their own accident can still seek to recover their damages — with the caveat that their damages will be reduced by the portion of fault assigned to them.
For example, if the settlement amounts to $100,000, but the injured claimant is deemed 20% responsible, they may only walk away with $80,000.
The risk of a reduction to available damages is one major reason why hiring a golf cart accident lawyer in California can be so beneficial. Insurers will be quick to assign shared blame in order to reduce the size of a potential payout, so injury victims must be careful to protect their rights and fight against allegations of shared fault with the help of an experienced lawyer.
Common Injuries in a Golf Cart Accident
Golf carts are a convenient mode of transportation and can be useful well outside the golf course. Many neighborhoods have built their communities with golf carts in mind as the main mode of transportation. This idea may be traced back to communities built on golf courses, making it as easy to drive straight from your home to the green as driving to your neighbor’s house.
Golf carts are actually street legal in many parts of California, meaning that it can be easier for a bigger automobile like a car to pose a threat to these smaller, less-protected vehicles.
Golf carts, with their slower speeds and smaller frames, may seem safer to ride around in, but can be extremely dangerous to occupants in the unfortunate event of a crash. Golf carts can typically reach speeds of 15-25 miles per hour. An accident at that speed can do some pretty serious damage to any passengers, especially considering the lack of protection on all sides. On top of a lack of side-impact protection, golf carts are also not built with airbags to protect passengers during a sudden impact. Their frames are also light and lack crumple zones and other forms of protection granted to larger vehicles, meaning they could be completely crushed in the event of a major accident.
Passengers on a golf cart are highly likely to be injured in a collision with another vehicle. Even in areas with low-speed limits, another vehicle colliding with a golf cart can have a serious impact on those involved. As every accident has its own unique details, the spectrum of the severity of injuries is wide.
The most common injuries seen from golf cart accidents include:
- Broken bones or fractures
- Neck and spine injuries
- Respiratory complications
- Cuts, scratches, or scrapes
Common Causes of a Golf Cart Accident
Even when a cart operator drives their vehicle responsibly, the actions of another negligent party may put them at risk. It is important that all golf cart operators avoid actions or behaviors that cause accidents, including overloading their carts or exceeding passenger limits.
The most common negligent behaviors that cause golf cart accidents include:
- Distracted driving: One of the most common causes of accidents is distracted driving. In neighborhoods and workplaces where golf carts are commonly driven, other drivers may feel so familiar with their route that distracted driving seems like less of a big deal. Texting, eating, or playing with the radio are all examples of distracted driving. As golf carts may be difficult to spot, any distractions can prove deadly.
- Impaired driving: Nationwide, driving under the influence is a big problem. On top of that, drowsy driving plays a big role in causing some accidents. When a careless golf cart operator or another driver on the road drives intoxicated, serious crashes can result. It is important that responding officers assess the scene in cases of suspected impaired driving.
- Failure to share the road: Some drivers are impatient, and as golf carts can’t exceed certain speed limits, another driver may try to pass, tailgate, or otherwise irresponsibly try to speed around the cart, leading to a situation that is likely to cause an accident.
What Does a Golf Cart Injury Claim Look Like?
A golf cart collision is a sudden, unexpected experience, which is why you may feel confused and overwhelmed trying to move forward immediately after. When seeking an injury settlement, there is a standard set of steps that most victims of an accident can follow, regardless of the unique details of your case.
The steps listed below can help you and your California golf cart accident lawyer build a solid case for a settlement request.
Gather Insurance Information
In an accident, always exchange information with other drivers involved. You may have first responders on hand to help you retrieve the information you need, but if not, it is your responsibility to obtain the insurance information of the other party. In the event the negligent party does not want to cooperate, contacting your local authorities and recording evidence of the damages, license plates, and the scene of the accident may be your best bet.
Medical Treatment for Injuries
It is important to receive medical attention after any type of serious collision. After an impact, your body may begin to produce adrenaline, blocking the pain of your injuries for hours after the crash. This is why many first responders may recommend medical attention for serious accidents even when the victims feel no pain. Be sure to take photos and videos of all injuries as well as save copies of a doctor’s analysis of your condition.
Witnesses Are a Great Asset
In some cases where details may be vague, or the negligent party attempts to not cooperate, a witness may be an ally for your case. A witness can corroborate your story, making you appear more credible. If you are physically capable after your accident, try to encourage witnesses to stay and offer statements to the police. You can also save contact information and pass that to the appropriate authorities for a future statement.
Injury Victim Files a Claim
Once you have been seen by a medical professional and the scene of your accident has been assessed by first responders, you must call the negligent party’s insurer and file a notice of a claim. Avoid sharing explicit details about the event before discussing them with your attorney. You should keep all conversations with the insurer short and vague, as you may be unknowingly giving out information that they can use against you. You may also need to inform your own insurer, depending on your policy. It is advisable to speak to an attorney prior to talking to insurers to avoid common pitfalls insurance representatives set, such as getting the claimant to admit to partial fault.
After you notify the assumed at-fault party’s insurer of the accident, they will immediately begin to investigate the vent, and so should you. The best steps you can take actually need to happen before you file the claim, including actions like taking photos and videos of the scene after impact. Visual aids are great evidence to prove your story. Be sure to include small details like tire marks and license plate information, as well as a photo showing the broader accident scene along with landmarks that establish a clear location.
Filing Your Formal Declaration of Damages
Once the official damages have been assessed, you will file a formal demand letter listing the events and your demands for a settlement. This step can be conducted by your attorney. Your demand must be a comprehensive document containing every expense and loss you have endured, along with the main points justifying why the insured policyholder is at-fault.
Insurer Responds and Determines the Next Steps
Your insurer must respond to your formal declaration of demands promptly. In California, that means within 15 days of arrival. They can either accept your settlement request in full or deny certain expenses. If the injury victim is unable to recover the needed damages, the final step is a lawsuit.
Filing a Lawsuit
A personal injury attorney like the legal team at Singh Ahluwalia can help you file an official civil complaint against the negligent person who has already been determined at-fault. After they have been served, a discovery process including interrogatories and depositions begins. Both sides’ attorneys have the opportunity to settle the case in mediation before heading to a trial. Most cases don’t get this far, but in a contentious case, Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law is prepared to represent you in a court of law and to present all relevant evidence to a jury of your peers.
Injured in a Golf Cart Accident? Call Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law Today!
The golf car accident lawyers at Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law have years of experience representing victims and their families through difficult accidents such as a golf cart crash. We are committed to serving California families in our community, and we’d be happy to serve yours too.