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Five People Injured in Golf Cart Accident at the U.S. Open

Howry, Breen & Herman LLP

Although Gary Woodland won the 2019 U.S. Open in Pebble Beach, CA, there was another incident at the golf tournament that made headlines. A runaway golf cart carrying boxes struck and injured five spectators near the 16th hole on Friday, June 14.

According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), a vendor parked the cart and was walking away when a box fell onto the gas pedal, causing it to accelerate. The vendor and four other people were hit and injured before a person brought the cart under control.

Liability in Golf Car Accidents

Golf cart operators have a duty to safely drive their vehicles and properly secure cargo to avoid accidents. If they neglect such responsibility and their negligence results in an accident, golf cart drivers could be liable for any injuries they cause.

If the golf cart driver was performing job duties prior to the accident, employers are responsible for the negligence of their employees under the “respondeat superior” doctrine. If a malfunction was the reason, the manufacturer of the cart or cart parts can be held liable for injuries caused by the defective cart.

When a Defective Product is the Cause

In regard to product liability related to vehicle parts, our legal team at Howry, Breen & Herman, LLP won a $15.8-million verdict against Textron, Inc. dba E-Z-GO in a Texas federal court in 2016. The jury unanimously found the E-Z-GO Workhorse Utility Vehicle’s braking system had a defective design that made it unreasonably dangerous.

Our client became paralyzed when a 1,000-pound Workhorse her family owned started and drove off on its own. Similar to the U.S Open incident, a bag filled with cattle feed fell onto the gas pedal, starting the Workhorse and releasing the parking brake.

Our client was run over by the vehicle and suffered a broken neck that rendered her quadriplegic. Textron was aware of the potential runaway hazard in 1998—during the designing stages of the vehicle—but failed to make the necessary changes.

For more information about product liability lawsuits in Austin, as well as lawsuits pertaining to golf carts and other utility vehicles, call us at (512) 430-4844 and schedule a free consultation today.

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