In October 2010, the minor plaintiff, then a twelve year old girl, visited a friend and spent the weekend at that family’s home. The defendant family lived in a gated community in which it was common to travel by golf cart and the family owned one for that purpose. One afternoon, the defendant mother gave her daughter a “lesson” on how to operate the golf cart and allowed the two twelve year old girls to ride the motorized vehicle unsupervised. Shortly thereafter, with the plaintiff as a passenger, the defendant daughter operated the golf cart at excessive speeds and attempted to “jump” a speed bump within the development. In doing so, the plaintiff was ejected from the open vehicle, striking her head on the cement, causing a closed head injury.
Plaintiff’s counsel alleged that the negligence of the parents as well as the minor child operating the golf cart caused this accident. Specifically, the defendant parents were negligent in allowing their minor daughter, in contravention of the golf cart manufacturer’s explicit warnings, to operate such a motorized vehicle. The machine’s owner’s manual designated only licensed drivers to operate the golf cart and to never leave children unattended on the vehicle. Despite these clear and explicit warnings, the parents permitted and in fact encouraged the minor children to operate the golf car as the mother gave a “lesson” beforehand. Plaintiff’s also alleged the defendant minor child was negligent in her operation of the golf cart in travelling at excessive speeds while attempting to “jump” speed bumps.
The minor plaintiff sustained several fractures to her skull and was closely monitored at the intensive care unit for five days. She suffered from cognitive and emotional deficits months post accident and special accommodations were made for her at school. At the plaintiff’s one year neuropsychological test, she was found to have made a near complete recovery and no longer required any accommodations at school. She ultimately maintained the same grade point average she had prior to the accident. She accumulated only $38,000.00 in medical expenses and was assessed as having reached an end medical result.
The case was settled prior to suit ever having to be filed.