Last year, approximately 15,000 Americans were sent to the emergency room for injuries sustained in golf cart accidents. Unfortunately, this number is steadily increasing as golf carts today are used in a variety of settings, both on and off the golf course. In a study led by the Center for Injury Research and Policy, the number of golf cart-related injuries rose by a staggering 132% from 1990 to 2006.
A major factor for this increase is that while golf carts are more often found off the putting green, industry standards still define, and design, golf carts under an incorrect assumption that they are strictly used to transport individuals in the game of golf. While this might have been true at one point, even major golf cart manufactures such as Club Car acknowledge that golf car owners now include “families who live in gated communities, automotive dealers, apartment complexes and other individuals and business owners.” Club Car’s product line now boasts stretched, six-passenger golf carts to accommodate more passengers and owners who have no intention of ever using these vehicles on a golf course. Under current golf cart industry standards, manufacturers are still permitted to sell tens of thousands of golf carts to the public annually without any basic safety features like seatbelts, overhead handles, roll bars or handrails.
Last February, a Houston, Texas resident, Bonnie Herndon, became another unsuspecting victim to the latent dangers that golf carts pose. Mrs. Herndon and her husband had just enjoyed an evening concert hosted by the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo when a volunteer driving the couple back to their vehicle in one of Club Car’s stretched, six-passenger golf carts made a sharp left turn. The force of the turn and the absence of basic safety features caused Mrs. Herndon to be thrown from the cart and fall headfirst onto the pavement of the Reliant Stadium parking lot. The injuries Mrs. Herndon sustained to her head in the fall have left her in a coma since the incident. Mr. Herndon, who witnessed the horrific incident and still prays that his wife will come out of the now six month-long coma, has filed suit against the Houston Rodeo and the golf cart manufacturers. In the charges, Mr. Herndon alleges that the rodeo chose vehicles entirely unsuitable to transport patrons across the Reliant Stadium parking lot (one of the largest in the world), and that Club Car defectively designed and manufactured the golf cart they were riding in.
As alternative uses and consumer demand continue to drive golf carts further away from their original industry standards, the number of victims from golf cart-related injuries and deaths will almost certainly continue to rise as it has so far. If you or your loved one has suffered a serious injury or death from a golf cart incident contact the lawyers of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner as soon as possible to explore your options.
Benny Agosto, Jr. is a partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner in Houston, Texas. For over 65 years, Abraham Watkins has successfully represented injured people and families who fall victim to catastrophes. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience and resources necessary to obtain just compensation their clients. For more information, please contact the office of Benny Agosto, Jr. at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, by letter at 800 Commerce Street, Houston, Texas 77002, or by phone at (713) 222-7211.