Golf Cart Manufacturers

Golf carts may be a convenient method of travel – both on the golf course and through certain South Florida neighborhoods – but if they are poorly designed or improperly manufactured, serious injury or death could result.

Fort Myers injury lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, can explain that manufacturers who produce and put into the stream of commerce a product that is defective may be held liable for the resulting harm suffered. These types of claims are known as product liability.

It’s not necessary that you were the purchaser of the product for liability to be established, so long as the defective product was responsible for the injuries you suffered.

These types of claims may be complex, which means you will need an attorney with extensive experience to help walk you through it.

Golf Cart Requirements in Florida

It’s important to understand that golf carts are not toys. They are vehicles, even categorized by the Florida Supreme Court as a “dangerous instrumentality.” Further, they are required under F.S. 316.212 to be equipped with:

  • Efficient brakes;
  • Reliable steering apparatus;
  • Safe tires;
  • Rearview mirror;
  • Red reflectorized warning devices in both front and rear.

Individual communities can adopt ordinances that require additional equipment, such as horns or other warning devices.

Operators and passengers in golf carts can suffer severe and sometimes catastrophic injuries.

Liability of Manufacturers, Distributors and Retailers

Product liability claims for golf cart accidents when the product is unreasonably dangerous. Far too many manufacturers fail to fully test their products or they try to cut certain corners on quality to save money.

To win a product liability lawsuit, plaintiff must show:

  • A damage or loss. This involves an actual injury or monetary loss that results from using the manufacturer/ distributor/ retailer’s product.

  • Defect or failure to warn. This involves showing that the product was either defectively designed or defectively manufactured or that the defendant was aware or should have been aware of the potential risks of that product’s use and failed to warn consumers about it.

  • Proximate cause. This involves showing that the defective product in question was the cause of the injury.

  • Product had been used as intended. In general, plaintiffs need to prove they were using the golf cart the way the manufacturer had intended OR in a way the manufacturer should have reasonably expected it would be used.

Per F.S. 95.11, product liability claims have to be filed within four years of the “cause of action,” which is either when the injury occurred, or when plaintiff knew or should have known the injury was caused by defendant’s conduct. A claim older than this will not have a chance to prevail.

Recalled Golf Carts

Manufacturers of all products owe a duty of care to consumers to make sure their products are reasonably safe for the intended purpose and that they will warn of potential risks.

Because the potential for injury is so high with golf carts, which can travel up to 25 mph, manufacturers of these vehicles have a big responsibility. When golf carts fall short of expected standards posing a safety risk, manufacturers and distributors can and should issue a recall. A golf cart recall will not hinder your chances of filing a successful claim, even if your injury occurred after the recall was announced.

Some examples of golf cart recalls in years past (per the Consumer Product Safety Commission) include:

  • Club Car Gas Golf and Transport vehicles recalled 12,000 golf carts in 2015 due to improper factory-installed hose claims that could rub and wear a hole in the fuel tank, causing a leak that posed a fire hazard.

  • E-Z-Go Gas-Powered Golf, Shuttle and Utility Vehicles recalled 8,200 golf carts in 2015 due to potential gas tank leaks that could pose fire hazards.

  • Yamaha recalled 2,000 Golf Cars and Personal Transportation Vehicles in 2015 due to potential for the front wheel hub to crack, causing the front wheels to detach and pose a crash hazard.

  • Club Car recalled 1,800 Golf and Transport Vehicles due to a passenger hip restraint that had the potential to break and fail to hold the rider in place.

  • Club Car recalled 1,450 Golf and Transport Vehicles (Precedent model year 2013) in 2014 because the steering wheel mechanism had the potential to loosen and cause a crash.

This list is not exhaustive by any means, but it does highlight some of the potential issues that can arise in the design and manufacturing process.

If you are injured in a Fort Myers golf cart accident, our dedicated injury lawyers can help you determine the best course of legal action.

800-646-1210 – Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner – Focused on Justice

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