A go-kart, sometimes referred to as a go-cart or kart, is a miniature vehicle that is used for recreational purposes, such as racing on designated go-kart tracks. Much like a car, a go-kart has four wheels, an engine, and is powered by gasoline or oil. Depending on the type of go-kart, these vehicles have the potential to reach up to 30 to 40 mph or more.
As mentioned, go-karts are primarily used for racing and other recreational activities. Generally speaking, go-karts are typically not allowed to be driven on sidewalks or public roadways. Oftentimes, a rider will need to visit either an indoor or outdoor go-kart park to use such vehicles. In some cases, go-karts may also be used in approved public areas, on private property, or in places where dirt trails are available.
However, the main location in which go-karts are normally found are within outdoor go-kart parks. While go-kart parks will usually be monitored by employees who will also be responsible for enforcing safety measures, go-kart accidents can still happen. For instance, many go-kart parks allow several competitors to race on the tracks at the same time. This is true regardless of whether the race is for fun or is part of a competitive event.
Some common examples of the types of accidents that can occur when using a go-kart include the following:
- Collisions with other go-karts;
- Flip or roll-over accidents; and/or
- Crashes involving a wall, lane divider, or various other obstacles on the track.
The reason as to why go-kart accidents are so dangerous is because the body of the vehicle is not completely enclosed with steel. Unlike cars, go-karts are entirely open and could cause serious injuries to persons who neglect to wear a helmet, seatbelt, or other safety device.
Some injuries that can result from a go-kart accident include:
- Head, neck, and/or spinal injuries;
- Sprained or broken bones;
- Lacerations or “road rash”;
- Whiplash; and
- Burns if the vehicle catches fire or overheats.
Thus, despite missing the speed and other parts of a standard car, go-karts can still cause dangerous situations to arise if they are not operated in a safe manner.
Therefore, if you need assistance with filing a lawsuit to recover damages for injuries stemming from a go-kart accident, then you should speak to a local personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you file a claim and can ensure that you meet all procedural deadlines for your case.
Who Can be Held Liable for a Go-Kart Accident?
In most instances, a go-kart arena or park will request that patrons review and sign a liability waiver. Depending on the circumstances, a go-kart arena may be able to use a signed waiver to release them from liability in the event that a patron is injured while participating in go-kart activities. However, there are some cases where a go-kart park can still be held liable for a go-kart accident if certain factors are present.
For example, the owners of a go-kart business are generally required to keep the vehicles in safe and proper working order. If a staff member who works for the go-kart business knows about a specific go-kart that needed repairs, then both the business and the employee could be held liable for any resulting injuries should a go-kart accident occur.
Some other guidelines that a go-kart arena business or its staff may need to follow include:
- Checking each go-kart and the go-kart track periodically throughout the day;
- Hanging up warning signs that inform visitors of the dangers associated with go-karts;
- Using traffic signals and other signs to direct persons driving on the track; and
- Creating an instruction manual for employees on how to fix broken go-karts or related equipment like the track.
Aside from a go-kart park business, its owners, or an employee, another party who could be held liable for a go-kart accident are the other go-kart drivers on the track. For instance, if a person was operating a go-kart in a negligent or reckless manner, then the injured party may be able to sue them for damages. Other go-kart drivers can also be held responsible if they were intentionally trying to cause an accident or inflict injury upon someone else on the track.
In addition, the manufacturer or designer of a go-kart may be held liable for injuries sustained by a party in a go-kart accident if the go-kart or a piece of the go-kart is found to be defective. Specifically, defects that cause a go-kart to explode or to burst into flames can be particularly dangerous and can result in life-threatening injuries.
To recap the information in this section, the list below contains the types of parties who could potentially be held liable for a go-kart accident:
- The go-kart business itself and its owner;
- A staff member that is employed by a go-kart arena or amusement park;
- Other drivers or passengers on the course; and/or
- The manufacturer, designer, distributor, or other business that is considered to be a part of a specific go kart’s supply chain.
What are the Legal Remedies for a Go-Kart Accident?
The majority of go-kart accidents will typically result in a personal injury lawsuit. The award in such cases is usually some sort of monetary damages award. Similar to car accident lawsuits, the money that a plaintiff recovers for injuries suffered in a go-kart accident may be used to cover some of the following types of expenses, including:
- Past and future medical expenses;
- Loss of wages;
- Emotional distress;
- Lost earning capacity;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of opportunity or reputation;
- Disfigurement or disability;
- Loss of consortium;
- Repair or replacement of property; and/or
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Additionally, depending on the laws of the jurisdiction wherein the go-kart accident in question occurred and on the facts of a specific case, a plaintiff may also be able to petition for equitable remedies as well.
For example, in a products liability lawsuit based on a claim for defective design, a plaintiff may be able to request that a particular go-kart model or go-kart part be recalled. This is especially true if the defect has caused widespread injuries to multiple persons and the issue can be filed as a class action lawsuit.
Finally, it should be noted that the damages issued in a go-kart accident lawsuit can vary from case to case. This is because each state has its own separate laws on damages and what remedies a prevailing plaintiff can collect based on their injuries in a personal injury lawsuit.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Go-Kart Accident?
Accidents involving a go-kart can be very serious and may lead to severe injuries. Thus, it may be in your best interest to hire a local car accident lawyer if you have been injured in a go-kart accident and need help filing a lawsuit against another party.
An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to assist you in preparing a case and can determine what types of damages you may be able to recover. Your lawyer can also recommend other options if they feel a lawsuit is either too costly for the circumstances or if they believe that you should initiate a class action lawsuit instead.
In addition, your lawyer can inform you of your rights under the law and can provide representation in court during legal proceedings.