In a somewhat recently-filed South Florida golf cart accident lawsuit, plaintiffs allege an elderly gentleman died because a reckless driver failed to use reasonable care.
As our Florida golf cart accident lawyers can explain, per F.S. 316.212, golf carts incapable of traveling more than 20 mph aren’t typically allowed to be operated on public roads – unless the roadway has a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less and is specifically designated for golf cart use. Golf carts are allowed to cross portions of a county road intersecting with a road approved for golf carts or a road that intersects a golf course or mobile home park. In any case, the roadway should have posted signs clearly indicating golf cart crossings. Operators of golf carts need not be licensed, but if they’re going to operate on a designated public roadway, they must be at least 14-years-old.
The recent case out of Delray Beach involved an 83-year-old grandfather who died in June after his golf cart was reportedly struck by a car at a crossing near a golf course. The decedent was reportedly crossing South Ocean Boulevard at an intersection with golf cart crossing signs. The Florida golf course accident lawsuit alleges the car driver was speeding, disregarded golf cart warning signs, and improperly passed another vehicle on the road before striking the cart.
According to Palm Beach Daily News, the decedent and his friend had just finished half of their first round of golf and were on their way to the other side of the course – by way of a designated crossing – when they were struck. The posted speed limit on the road is 35 mph. The police reported the defendant driver was traveling somewhere between 45-70-mph at the time of the collision. He reportedly didn’t see the golf cart before it was too late. The cart spun and then flipped. The passenger was pinned underneath, while the decedent was ejected, struck the passenger side of the car and ultimately landed on the road. He later died at the hospital, and is survived by his wife, adult children, and grandchildren.
While the Florida golf cart accident lawsuit is pending in civil court, a state prosecutor declined to press criminal charges. The assistant state attorney said that while the driver was careless behind the wheel, his actions didn’t rise to the level of a criminal offense. Police had initially sought a warrant in the case for vehicular homicide, but the state attorney has prosecutorial discretion. This, of course, underlines a key point in civil litigation, which is that the goals and proof burdens are very different than in criminal court. It isn’t necessary for someone to be charged or convicted in criminal court to prevail in a civil lawsuit. Instead, what is needed is to establish failure to use reasonable care, which is defined as the degree of caution a reasonable person would use in the same or similar circumstances. Continue reading