A golf cart accident at a Yonkers, NY club led to a major suit and settlement recently. In August 2014, Joseph Erato was struck by a cart driven by a club volunteer. Erato suffered injuries to the ankle and tibia areas of his leg, leading to hospitalization and multiple surgical procedures. In February 2017, Westchester's Board of Legislators authorized a settlement for $2.65 million, to be paid by the county and the associated insurance companies.
Golf Carts on the Roads Causing Concerns
Over 350 U.S. localities have passed laws allowing these vehicles to be driven along their roads. The International Light Transportation Vehicle Association (ILTVA) says personal golf carts are either gas or electric powered and should not exceed 20 mph, thus allowing them to bypass federal safety standards. The ILTVA assists cities and counties in adopting such legislation. The Colorado towns of Littleton, Fowler, Wiggins, Bow Mar and Erie are listed as participating. Growing concern has surfaced regarding individuals unable to qualify for a driver's license because they are under age, or have vision problems, reportedly taking these vehicles to the roadways.
Broncos Player in Golf Cart Accident
Matt McChesney played football for the University of Colorado before joining the Denver Broncos. McChesney was golfing when a rolling cart caused him to sustain a severe ankle injury. He was forced into premature retirement from pro football due to the accident.
Related Colorado Statute
C.R.S. 42-1-102 defines a “golf car” as a self-propelled vehicle not primarily designed for roadway usage with the following provisions:
- Speed restricted to 20 mph
- Minimum of three wheels reach the ground
- Maximum four passenger capacity, with an empty weight limit of 1300 lbs.
- Use prohibited by those under 16 years old, or upon highways
- The law did not address insurance requirements
Montes v. Hyland Hills: CO Court of Appeals
Colorado courts handled a personal injury civil case involving a golf cart accident in Montes v. Hyland Hills (1993). Ralph Montes sought damages for injuries after a mechanical steering system problem in his rented cart caused him to crash. The suit was brought against Hyland Hills Park & Recreation, a public course owned by the local district. The case escalated to the Colorado Appeals Court, with Montes claiming the District was negligent in failing to adequately check, maintain, and repair the vehicle. The court ultimately found the District was protected under the CO Governmental Immunity Act, designed to shield public entities in cases of civil liability. The Act contains an exception which assigns responsibility for dangerous conditions upon the physical property of the facility. In this case, the court found the physical property itself was not dangerous but was a mechanical vehicle problem and immunity did apply.
The Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal has been defending the rights of those enduring hardship as a result of injuries caused by the negligence of others while operating a vehicle for many years. Contact the office today at (303) 825-2223 for a consultation.