Design Engineer Expert Witness Opines on Golf Cart Accident

    design engineer expert witnessThis case involves an accident with a golf cart. The plaintiffs worked for an university’s athletic department, and their responsibilities included maintaining the football and baseball teams facilities and assisting when student athletes became injured. Because of this, the plaintiffs had access to a golf cart which was used to transport the injured athletes. On the day in question, the plaintiffs had to stay late to prepare the facilities for the following day’s athletic event. As they prepared to leave, they got in the golf cart to go back to the preparatory facilities, and on the way, they had to make a sharp turn, causing the golf cart to tip. Both plaintiffs were severely injured, and they brought suit against the manufacturer of the golf cart for an unsafe design.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. How does the design of a golf cart affect safety considerations?

    Expert Witness Response E-000275

    Golf carts can be dangerous because the terrain or circumstances in which they are used can be varied. One of the primary safety issues, specifically for golf carts, are the warnings provided on the vehicle. Also, the frame on the top of the cart, if one is provided, can also provide some protection in the event of the vehicle tipping over. The material used, the exact shape of it, and the height of it all can factor into how protective it can be. Additional considerations regarding safety include the driver’s experience with driving the vehicle, the point at which the accident occurred, any training provided to the plaintiffs, and different modifications. With modifications in mind, many manufacturers modify the original design of a golf cart to be able to transport injured individuals. As such, the ‘modified’ cart cannot be driven safely in the same way as a standard cart (as its handling capabilities are not the same). This can cause a hazardous condition if adequate warnings are not provided to the possible passengers/ drivers of the vehicle. Extra safety considerations for these types of carts should include a wider base, wider tires, a reinforced frame, and other items designed to strengthen the vehicle. One has to examine the exact cart in question, its design, and the usage to discover what safety deficiencies may have contributed to the accident.

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