Can I Get Punitive Damages in a Golf Cart Accident in the Villages?
Yes, under the right circumstances. The law in Florida is located in Florida Statute Ch. 768.72. The standard is that the conduct of the at-fault person in a golf cart accident has to be “Gross Negligence”. And the Florida Statute goes on to explain that “Gross Negligence” means the following:
“the defendant’s conduct was so reckless or wanting in care that it constituted a conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of persons exposed to such conduct.”
The most common conduct which gives foundation for punitive damages is drunk driving. If you read the local newspapers you know that this is a common occurrence in The Villages. This is especially true with people leaving the Squares after happy hour — or later. If it can be proven that an at-fault golf cart operator was above the legal limit of .08 blood-alcohol level, then punitive damages are allowed to be sought. But that does not mean DUI is the only basis for seeking punitive damages. A golf cart operator may operate a golf cart so recklessly that it goes above mere negligence and is gross negligence.
How Does It Work in Real Life Situations?
When an at-fault golf cart operator, or their insurer in most cases, refuses to take care of the damage caused by the at-fault operator, suit can be filed against the driver. Shortly into the suit, we file a petition with the Court to add on a punitive damages count against the at-fault driver. The judge considers the evidence (e.g., DUI, driving erratically, texting while driving, etc.) and decides whether the golf cart driver’s conduct could be viewed by a jury as grossly negligent. When allowed to proceed with not only a negligence count and the punitive damages count, a jury gets to consider whether punitive damages should be awarded. That is not to say that every case ends up in front of a jury. Certainly, the at-fault driver, or their insurer is there is insurance, can resolve the case before it gets that far. And, when punitive damages are possible against an at-fault golf cart operator, it is very risky for the golf cart operator to allow the jury to decide that case. Punitive damages, where they are appropriate, are a real motivator for an at-fault golf cart operator, and their insurer, to get a golf cart accident case concluded.
When you or a family member has been harmed by a negligent golf cart operator seek attorneys who have handled these cases. We have obtained seven-figure results for our clients. We know the unique laws which apply directly to golf cart injury cases. You can have trust and confidence in our 25 years of representing only injured people, and never an insurance company.
Call Us. We Are Golf Cart Attorneys. We Are Ready to Help You Right Now.