A 93-year-old woman on a mobility scooter suffered severe injuries after a golf cart struck her in a crosswalk at Leisure World, a retirement community in Seal Beach. According to a news account in The Orange County Register, the major injury crash occurred the morning of March 12, 2013 at St. Andrews Drive north of Tam O’Shanter Road. Police say the driver of a golf cart failed to stop for the woman who was riding her mobility scooter across the street in a marked crosswalk, striking her. The elderly woman was transported to an area hospital with major injuries. The driver of the golf cart was not cited or arrested pending an official investigation.
OC Pedestrian Crashes
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), one person died and four were injured as a result of pedestrian collisions in Seal Beach. In Orange County as a whole, 32 fatalities and 770 injuries were reported due to pedestrian accidents during the same year.
Laws Relating to Mobility Scooter Riders
It appears from this news report that the elderly woman was riding her mobility scooter in a crosswalk when the person riding the golf cart failed to yield the right-of-way. Under California Vehicle Code Section 467 (b), the term “pedestrian” includes any person “who is operating a self-propelled wheelchair, motorized tricycle, or motorized quadricycle and, by reason of physical disability, is otherwise unable to move about as a pedestrian.”
Also, California Vehicle Code Section 21950 requires motorists to “yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.”
Fault and Liability
In this particular case, officials say alcohol or drugs was not a factor. However, there is an ongoing investigation about how or why this incident occurred. If the driver of the golf cart is determined to have been at fault, he or she could be held liable for the elderly victim’s serious injuries. Injured victims in such cases can seek compensation to cover damages including medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries and other related damages.
A knowledgeable Orange County personal injury lawyer will also be able to determine whether a dangerous roadway condition caused or contributed to the incident. If that was the case, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held liable. Please remember that any personal injury claim against a California governmental entity must be filed within 180 days of the incident.