Brian White | June 14, 2023 | Texas Laws
Many people in Houston use golf carts as a means of transportation. Changes to the Texas golf cart laws allow people to use golf cars on roads with restrictions. It is important to understand the Texas golf car laws to protect yourself from liability in case of a golf car accident.
Texas Law Regarding Golf Carts
Golf carts are included in the description of unique vehicles by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. The state does not register or title golf carts. However, a golf cart can receive a golf cart license plate.
If you have a golf cart license plate and the golf cart meets the equipment requirements, you can drive your golf cart:
- On roads in a community with a master plan, a county or municipality-approved plat, and restrictive covenants.
- On a private or public beach that is open to vehicular traffic.
- On a highway with a speed limit of 35 mph during daytime hours within two miles of the location where the golf cart is parked for transportation to and from a golf course.
- To cross intersections, including intersections with highways that have a speed limit of more than 35 mph.
If you operate your golf cart going less than 25 mph on a road, you must display a slow-moving vehicle emblem in addition to the golf car license plate. Cities and counties can authorize golf carts to operate on roads within their boundaries with a speed limit of 35 mph or less.
Golf carts must have headlamps, mirrors, tail lamps, parking brakes, and reflectors.
Additionally, all traffic laws pertaining to motor vehicles pertain to golf carts operating on roads. The Texas Attorney General issued an opinion interpreting the laws pertaining to driver’s licenses for golf cart operators. According to the applicable Texas Transportation Code sections, the requirement to have a driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle on a public roadway applies to golf carts.
Liability for Golf Cart Accidents in Houston, TX
Unfortunately, golf carts can be involved in accidents both on and off the road. Because Texas is a tort-based liability state, the party responsible for causing the golf cart accident could be liable for damages.
Common defendants in golf cart accidents include:
- The golf cart driver
- Passengers in the golf cart
- Motor vehicle drivers
- Golf courses
- Property owners
A golf cart manufacturer could be liable if a defective golf cart caused an accident. Likewise, if the negligence of a maintenance or repair shop contributed to the cause of a golf cart accident, they could be liable for damages.
Unfortunately, Texas does not require golf cart owners to purchase liability insurance. Therefore, if the golf cart owner is liable for an accident, the options for recovering compensation could be limited. It is important to seek legal advice from an experienced Houston golf car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Causes of Houston Golf Cart Accidents
Negligence is a common cause of accidents involving golf carts. The at-fault party is reckless or makes mistakes that lead to an accident. However, other causes involve product liability and premises liability.
Common causes of golf cart crashes include:
- Negligent motor vehicle drivers that are distracted, speeding, intoxicated, or reckless. The driver could be liable if they hit a golf cart, and the crash is the driver’s fault.
- Golf cart drivers can also be negligent in operating a golf cart. Misusing the golf cart, speeding, driving recklessly, and operating the golf cart while intoxicated are examples of golf cart operator negligence.
- Defects in the golf cart or its part could lead to an accident. For example, faulty brakes could result in the golf car crashing into another vehicle or object.
- Dangerous premises can lead to golf cart crashes. Potholes, uneven ground, and other property defects can be hazardous for golf carts.
Sadly, golf cart accidents can cause catastrophic injuries. The golf cart does not have seatbelts, doors, or windows. Therefore, occupants are easily thrown from the vehicle during an accident.
A golf cart accident victim can sustain permanent impairments that prevent them from working or returning to normal activities. Common golf cart injuries include broken bones, paralysis, brain damage, internal organ damage, loss of limbs, and disfigurement.
What Damages Can I Recover After a Houston Golf Cart Accident?
The at-fault party could be liable for your economic damages, including out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and medical bills. You could also receive compensation for your non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
However, you must prove that the other party caused the accident and the accident caused your injuries. The amount you receive for damages could be reduced if you are partially to blame for causing the accident.
A Houston golf car accident attorney can review your case and tell you how much your case is worth during a free consultation.
Contact the Houston Personal Injury Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
3120 Southwest Freeway, Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098
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Houston, TX 77029
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Houston, TX 77054