In recent years, golf carts in Denver have gained popularity for use outside of golf courses. Although they are a fun and quick way to make short trips, accidents are rising. People often mistakenly believe that since golf carts travel at low speeds, they are harmless. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Thousands of people every year end up in the emergency room with golf cart-related injuries. While a single golf cart accident can be dangerous, the results can be catastrophic or fatal if another motor vehicle hits a golf cart.
Golf Carts vs. Low-Speed Vehicles in Denver, Colorado
Golf carts are leisure vehicles with intended usage on golf courses or short distances. They usually travel below 20 mph. On the other hand, low-speed vehicles are neighborhood vehicles that resemble golf carts. They are also called “electric vehicles” or “street-legal carts.”
The main difference between a golf cart and a low-speed vehicle (LSV) is that LSVs added safety features like:
- Parking brakes
- Turn signals
- Rearview mirrors
- And vehicle ID numbers
Low-speed vehicles often have capacities higher than the golf cart’s 20 mph max speed. For example, an upgraded golf cart can get up to 35 mph. As such, many people use higher-speed golf carts to travel and get around.
Colorado Golf Cart Laws
Golf Cart Driver Age Requirements
To operate a golf cart in Colorado, you must be at least fourteen years old. That means you can drive a golf cart without having a driver’s license.
Where and When Can You Drive Golf Carts in Colorado?
The speed limit for a golf cart is 15 mph in Colorado. Golf carts are not permitted on streets and roads unless your house is in or near a golf course. In addition, you may only operate a golf cart at night if you have reflectors and a headlamp installed.
Do I Need Any Documents While Driving a Golf Cart in Colorado?
Not necessarily. Since you don’t need to hold a valid driver’s license while operating a golf cart, you won’t need a title, registration, or insurance document. However, it would be best if you learned the appropriate hand signals to communicate with other pedestrians and motorists.
Are You Allowed to Drink Alcoholic Drinks on a Golf Cart in Colorado?
You can have drinks on a cart if you are not driving and are of age. Otherwise, golf carts are considered similar to cars in this regard. Therefore, you should not drink before getting behind the wheel. Operating a golf cart while sober ensures your safety and that of all other people on the road.
Who Is Liable if a Minor Gets Into a Colorado Golf Cart Accident?
If a minor or juvenile driver gets into a single cart crash while operating the cart, their parent or guardian will be accountable. Therefore, all parents should ensure the safety of their children. In addition, children under fourteen are not permitted to drive golf carts in Colorado.
Colorado Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) Laws
LSVs Require Equipment That Complies With the Law
Low-speed vehicles must be safe for use on streets to be legally compliant. To be legally compliant, they require the following:
- Brake lights
- Rear lights
- Seatbelt or safety restraints
- Individual vehicle ID numbers
LSV Driver Age Requirements
LSV operators should have a valid driver’s license to operate an LSV. Since LSVs are classified as motor vehicles, you can use them on streets and roadways.
Driving Distances and Nighttime Driving for LSVs in Colorado
Drivers can operate low-speed vehicles after dark if they have rear back lights and headlamps. So you can only drive regular golf carts with the light add-ons after dark. The speed limit for low-speed vehicles in Colorado is 25 mph.
Documents you Should Have With You to Operate a Colorado LSV
You should have your driver’s license while operating a low-speed vehicle. All LSV operators must follow traffic laws and may be subject to the same traffic citations or violations as other vehicle operators.
Only drive an LSV while sober. You might be subject to a DUI if caught driving an LSV while intoxicated on public roads. In addition, driving any vehicle while intoxicated endangers your safety and the safety of those around you.
Registering an LSV With the Colorado Motor Vehicles Department
If your golf cart has add-ons that classify it as a low-speed vehicle, you must have a title and insurance. You must also pass inspection and ensure they are road-safe before you can drive them. You’ll need to be a registered motorist to register your LSV. Lastly, you will need a license plate for your LSV.
Golf Cart Accident Statistics
According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, over 13,000 golf cart accidents require emergency room visits every year. Unfortunately, that number is rising, and nearly half of all reported accidents involve children under age 16.
Why are Children at higher risk for golf cart accident injuries? For starters, they have less experience operating vehicles. They are also more likely not to wear seatbelts if they exist in the golf cart of LSV, posing a higher risk of flying out of the cart during a crash.
A 2018 American Journal of Emergency Medicine study says that golf cart injuries are an increasing source of injury and death in the U.S. They assessed golf-cart-related injuries at a pediatric trauma center and found that children as young as nine are driving golf carts. Despite the age requirement being 14, people are letting younger children operate golf carts. Additionally, the study reported 40 crashes and over $1 million in hospital charges over 8 years (2008-2016). The average hospital stay for golf-cart-related injuries was almost two days, and the average cost for medical expenses was around $20,489. The most common injuries were head and neck injuries.
In 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition came out with data showing more than 6,500 adolescents experience a golf-cart-related injury annually. Children and teens driving golf carts with little or no adult supervision have an increased risk for accidents. The most common golf cart-related injuries that children or adults experience include:
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Bone Fractures
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Facial injuries
- Neck injuries
- Wrist and hand injuries
- Or death
In the worst cases of golf cart accidents, the occupants can get jolted out of the cart. In addition, since they have an open design and lack seatbelts, the passengers aren’t well protected during a collision or a crash.
Can I Sue for Golf Cart Injuries in Colorado?
Yes. If you sustained injuries in a Colorado golf car accident caused by someone else, you could file a personal injury claim. Depending on the circumstances, you can file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance. Your Denver personal injury lawyer would negotiate with them on your behalf to reach a fair settlement.
Who Is Liable for My Damages after a Colorado Golf Cart Accident?
While a single-cart accident can occur, there are many instances when the golf cart driver is not at fault. Here are a few different examples of who could be held legally accountable for your golf cart accident-related injuries:
- The owner of the golf cart – if you sustained injuries while operating a used golf cart, the owner could be responsible for your injuries. They could potentially be found negligent if they knew that the golf cart was unreliable or failed to maintain it properly.
- The dealership or a private selling company – if you purchased a defective golf cart and consequently experienced an accident, you might have a case against whoever sold you the defective cart.
- The golf cart manufacturer – sometimes used golf carts have defective parts that only show to be defective after a few years of use. If there was a manufacturer’s error or flaw, you could sue them for damages.
- Another party – if a negligent driver or other vehicle operator hits you, you can’t hold them accountable.
In many cases, clarifying and establishing who was at fault for causing the accident is challenging. Rather than blindly trying to navigate your way through the aftermath of a golf cart accident, hire an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer.
What Makes Golf Carts So Dangerous?
Golf carts are dangerous because they don’t have protective barriers or safety measures like regular cars. In addition, people assume that since they are “low-speed,” they are entirely safe.
While golf carts are inherently dangerous, other cars pose a real threat to golf carts and their occupants. If a car hits a golf cart, the golf car passengers are more vulnerable to severe injuries than the car occupants. Without airbags, windshields, or seatbelts, they can get thrown out of the cart and sustain catastrophic injuries.
How Do Golf Cart Injuries Happen?
Golf carts are not limited to the golf course in Colorado. Since they are so convenient, more and more people are using them to take short trips around the neighborhood, grab a bite to eat, or run to the store. As long as they meet the requirements to be a “low-speed vehicle,” you can legally drive them on the streets. They must have seatbelts, a windshield, lights, appropriate mirrors, and turn signals and not exceed 25 mph. A golf cart that does not have these add-ons is not a low-speed vehicle. It’s just a golf cart.
Golf car users appreciate that they can jump in and go, for a fraction of the price of a regular car. However, golf carts don’t have the safety equipment of a regular car, so they have a higher risk of injury if an accident occurs. So, if a car or truck hits a golf cart, the cart passengers can sustain severe injuries.
While single-cart accidents do happen, they may not be as severe as an accident involving another car. However, golf cart operators can sometimes be found negligible if they are horseplaying or driving the golf cart recklessly. Or sometimes they are not as careful as they should be and crash into other objects or obstacles. Falling out of a golf cart can happen if the driver takes a sharp turn or turns on unstable inclines.
Common Injuries Caused by a Colorado Golf Cart Accident
Even though golf carts can only go between 15-25 mph, accidents often result in severe bodily injury. This is especially true when the golf cart lacks safety features or if another car hits the golf cart. Here are some of the most common golf cart accident injuries:
- Arm, hand, and wrist injuries
- Back injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Face injuries
- Knee injuries
- Neck injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Spinal cord injuries or trauma, possibly resulting in paralysis
- Sprains and strains
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
What Damages Can I Recover in a Colorado Golf Cart Accident Lawsuit?
Don’t make the false assumption that Golf cart accident injuries are minor compared to car accident injuries. Sometimes golf cart injuries are just as severe, if not worse, than car accident injuries. After a golf cart injury, you might be stuck facing medical bills, chronic pain, and emotional trauma.
Contact a skilled Denver personal injury lawyer if another driver’s negligence caused the accident and your injuries. First, they can help you determine and establish liability. Then, they can help you get the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. Depending on the circumstances of your claim, you might be eligible to recover the following damages in your personal injury claim:
Any medical bills you incur through injury treatment apply here. That includes hospital visits and stays, emergency room bills, physical therapy, rehabilitation services, surgery, follow-up visits, and other medical care. In addition, you could include future medical expenses if you require long-term care for your injuries.
Lost Wages Due to Missed Work From Accident-Related Injuries
You can recover lost income if you missed work or lost your job because your injuries prevented you from returning after the accident. In addition, if you have a permanent disability and cannot return to work, you can seek compensation for lost earning capacity.
Pain and Suffering
You can also seek compensation for the pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident. Any accident is traumatic and will distress and discomfort the victims, especially if they sustain serious injuries. Pain and suffering damages are calculated based on the nature, extent, and duration of your injuries.
Mental Anguish and Emotional Distress
Many people suffer from PTSD, anxiety, depression, or other mental distress after a traumatic accident. You might be able to seek compensation for your losses.
Why You Need a Denver Golf Cart Accident Lawyer
Rather than doing guesswork after a serious accident, you’re better off hiring an experienced professional. By getting legal advice from a seasoned Denver golf cart accident lawyer, you have a better chance at winning your case.
Here are a few critical reasons why it behooves you to enlist the help of an experienced legal professional.
Your Car Insurance Most Likely Won’t Cover Expenses
After a car accident, you could file a claim with your insurance company, despite who is at fault. However, this option is unavailable when you experience an accident in a golf cart.
The Golf Cart Owner Could Be Uninsured
Since golf cart owners are not legally required to carry insurance for their golf carts, most don’t. That means, as the injury victim, you won’t have the option to file a claim with their insurance. In some cases, the cart owner might be covered through their homeowner’s insurance. Your attorney can help you find out.
How Can a Denver Golf Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
Help You Navigate the Best Course of Action
We offer free consultations, where we review your case and determine what steps you need to take next. Depending on your unique circumstances, that could mean filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Having our legal time on your side will help move things along in the right direction.
We Help Collect Solid Evidence to Prove Your Case
Some types of evidence (e.g., traffic cam recordings) are highly time-sensitive. Therefore, you need to secure them ASAP. You’ll have a strong case with dedicated and experienced lawyers who know what evidence to collect and how to get it. If necessary, we have personal investigators in our network who can conduct a thorough investigation. In the end, we also build a comprehensive case in your favor to hold the liable parties accountable.
Fight for Maximum Compensation
Our personal injury team fights to get you what you deserve. Whether it’s negotiating with insurance companies or going to court, we fight aggressively for you. We understand how vital financial resources are to rebuild your life after sustaining accident injuries.
Contact a Denver Golf Cart Accident Lawyer Today
Golf cart accidents involve complex legal issues. They are not necessarily the same as car accidents. Therefore, working with an experienced Denver golf cart accident lawyer is best. They will help you determine the best course of action to achieve the most desirable outcome. Most importantly, they can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Since we offer free consultations, you have nothing to lose. Contact us to schedule a case review, or call (720)500-HURT.