Modern golf carts are often street-legal and in essence, are small cars with fewer safety measures. Because of this, an accident on a golf cart can be just as dangerous, if not more dangerous than the average auto accident. In retirement communities throughout South Carolina, they are often used as primary transportation within the community.
The daughter of a resident in one of those communities contacted Joye Law Firm after her mother had been severely injured in a golf cart wreck. Attorney Randell ‘Ran’ Stoney III happened to be near our intake department when the call came in and after hearing the initial details, decided to take the case.
A Fourth of July Celebration Ends at the Hospital
When our client, a 57-year-old woman moved to Sun City after living in the Northeast most of her life, she was looking forward to warmer weather and living in a community of her peers near beautiful Hilton Head, SC. On the day of the incident, she was enjoying the amenities of the community by attending a Fourth of July Party with a cookout and fireworks, some residents had also been imbibing.
As the evening went on, residents began to visit other neighbors, traveling by golf cart. One of the golf cart drivers began to drive erratically in her street-legal golf cart, swerving and bumping up onto curbs. In an effort to stop the driver, a few community members jumped on board, including our client. Unable to get the driver under control, the golf cart swerved and flipped onto our client. She was transported by ambulance to a local hospital and admitted to the Emergency Department.
She ended up with multiple broken ribs, a broken collarbone, and fractured vertebrae. She remained in the hospital for 8 days, during which time she had to undergo emergency surgery to repair her damaged ribs amid worry that she may be suffering a punctured a lung. After her release from the hospital, she began going to inpatient physical therapy initially and continued outpatient physical therapy for her back injury. Her treatment lasted for several months, and during this time her medical bills continued to grow. Throughout this time her daughter maintained the primary point of contact and was distraught at her mother’s condition.
Multiple Insurance Policies
As Atty. Stoney and Case Manager, Matt Higdon, began to work the case they realized it would not be easy to determine what coverage was available, let alone convince the insurance companies to pay out. “The difficult piece was finding who had coverage in this case,” explains Atty. Ran Stoney. “These are her neighbors, and while they might not have been on the best terms after the accident, she didn’t want to go after them outside of their insurance.”
They were able to find that the at-fault driver carried Golf Cart Insurance and sent a letter to their insurance carrier, Foremost. The policy included a $250,000 bodily injury liability policy as well as a $100,000 property damage policy.
The next piece of the insurance puzzle involved the at-fault driver’s homeowners insurance policy through Sutton Specialty Insurance. This policy carried a $500,000 policy but initially, Stoney was not sure if the golf cart would be covered due to how similar it is to a vehicle.
Lastly, the client also carried Underinsured motorist coverage through her insurer, Geico, for a $250,000 bodily injury policy and a $100,000 property damage policy. Joye Law Firm sent demand letters to each of the insurance companies and argued that because of South Carolina Case Law, specifically, Geico v. Poole, they should not only pay out the bodily injury policies but also the property damage policies.
A Satisfying Resolution After a Serious Golf Cart Accident
Despite the initial difficulty in obtaining the policy information, through skillful negotiation, Atty. Stoney was able to get all three insurance companies to pay out their policy limits, awarding his client with a $1.2 Million settlement. This money will cover her hospital bills, future medical expenses, lost wages for her time out of work, and pain and suffering.
We express our gratitude for the victim’s decision to be represented by Joye Law Firm, as we are committed to achieving justice. If you or a loved one has sustained injuries due to a golf cart accident, it is advisable to seek legal counsel. Joye Law Firm operates throughout South Carolina and has offices in Charleston, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, Summerville, and Clinton to provide optimal service to our clients. We are available around the clock to receive your call and provide a complimentary case evaluation.