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June 24, 2023

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Go-karting is a popular motorsport among people of all ages. It is a relatively safe activity with fewer risks than other motorsports, including auto and motorcycle racing. However, go-karting still comes with specific hazards that could lead to injury.

According to a ten-year study by the Consumer Protection Agency, go-karting causes approximately 10,500 injuries yearly.

Fatalities, while rare, still occur in the low hundreds. According to go kart accident statistics, most accidents are caused by negligence by drivers, track managers, or maintenance professionals.

If you or a loved one suffered go-kart-related injuries caused by someone else, you could seek financial compensation through a personal injury claim.

Our experienced go-kart accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, could help you pursue damages against negligent parties and ensure they are liable for their actions.

Contact our personal injury law firm at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation.

Go Kart Accident Statistics

How Do Go-Karting Injuries Occur?

Go-karts are relatively safe when drivers use proper safety equipment and follow racing rules.

However, it still carries certain risks like any other sport. According to historical data, most go-kart-related injuries stem from:

  • Inexperience: Go-kart racing requires specific skills, including but not limited to good hand-eye coordination, balance, spatial awareness, and risk assessment. Go-kart drivers should also know how to accelerate and decelerate properly, turn safely, and navigate around other drivers. Drivers with poor skills and experience are more likely to get into a go-kart accident, especially when driving beyond their ability.
  • Human Errors: Distracted driving, miscalculations, and delayed response time can increase the risk of an accident. Human error is the most common direct cause of go-kart accidents.
  • Unsafe Go-Kart Tracks: Environmental hazards may cause drivers to lose control, collide into barriers, or crash into other karts. These hazards include oil spills, lack of collapsible barriers, and uneven pavements.
  • Bad Weather Conditions: Ice, rain, snow, and sleet can make tracks slippery and cause go-karts to crash into another vehicle or a stationary object.
  • Mechanical Failures: Poor maintenance can cause go-karts to fail and cause accidents.
  • Lack of Proper Safety Equipment: Go-karters must wear helmets, gloves, suits, neck braces, rib protectors, and other safety equipment to reduce the risk of injury in case of an accident.
  • Improperly Secured Hair: Loose hair can get tangled in the go-kart and cause the driver to lose control. Worst cases can lead to scalping. 

Common Go-Kart-Related Injuries

Most injuries in go-kart accidents are not severe, but some can be potentially life-threatening and require a trip to the emergency department.

Common injuries sustained in go-karting include:

  • Whiplash: A go-kart collision can violently force the driver’s neck to bend forward and backward. This sudden movement can cause injury to the muscles, discs, tendons, and nerves in the neck. While most whiplash injuries don’t cause long-term effects, they can cause significant pain for days or weeks.
  • Bone Fractures: Bone breaks are common in severe go-kart injuries, typically in incidents where the driver’s body slams on something hard or gets ejected from the vehicle.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): Go-kart helmets are essential in preventing traumatic head injuries, such as concussions and brain bleeds. A TBI occurs when a sudden jolt to the head causes the brain to bounce around the skull, damaging the tissue and surrounding membranes.
  • Bruising: Bruises are common go-kart injuries, even when no accident occurs. Go-karts can cause bruising due to the constant and sudden jerks while racing. However, severe bruising may require medical intervention.
  • Abdominal and Thoracic Injuries: Blunt abdominal trauma can crush tissue and damage organs near the chest and abdomen, such as the spleen and liver. These injuries usually occur when a driver’s body gets crushed against the steering wheel. 
  • Burns: Go-kart drivers can sustain burns from overheated engines, engine malfunctions, or oil and fuel leakages. Poorly-maintained go-karts are also more likely to cause burns.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: Typical injuries in minor go-karting accidents include sprains and strains, which occur when tendons, muscles, or ligaments are overstretched, torn, or sustained trauma from a fall or bump.
  • Abrasions: A go-kart racer can suffer abrasions when they directly contact the track’s surface, causing the skin to rub against the concrete.

Go Kart Accident Statistics

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) studied go-kart safety in 2000.

Results showed that over 10,000 people went to the emergency room for injuries derived from go-karting.

Around 67% of injured people by go-karts were under 15 years old. 

Injury Patterns

The CPSC recorded 600 injuries relating to go-kart accidents from 2001 to 2005, providing insight into the most common injuries:

  • Trunk and spine injuries: 230 (39%)
  • Hip, leg, and foot injuries: 150 (26%)
  • Shoulder, hand, and arm injuries: 130 (22%)
  • Head and neck injuries: 70 (12%)
  • Other associated injuries: 20 (3%)

Furthermore, medical literature revealed that most injuries occurred to children between 8 and 14 years old, primarily due to their slower reaction times than adults.

Other previous studies showed that:

  • Most injured children required emergency care and had to stay four to six days in the hospital due to go-kart injuries
  • Around 50% of these children required an operation; several needed more than one operation
  • Children with private go-karts are more likely to face accidents than those without
  • Injuries on recreational go-kart tracks are more frequent according to professional tracks, according to a present study focused on competition karting

In 2010, a group studied the injury mechanisms suffered by 600 go-karting practitioners.

Results revealed three main trauma mechanisms in go-kart accidents:

  • Direct trauma: fractures, contusions, abrasions, burns, lacerations
  • High energetic trauma (HET) deceleration: blunt abdominal or thoracic trauma, compression injury to lower limb
  • Acceleration and deceleration: flexion or extension injuries

Overall, further studies on go-kart accidents involving the same age groups and the same vehicles are necessary to determine an accurate scope of the problem.

Injury Locations

A 2002 study in Hong Kong showed that injuries on outdoor tracks appeared more severe and likely to occur than on indoor tracks.

Indoor tracks prioritize safety more than outdoor ones and are designed to make driving as safe and easy as possible.

On the other hand, outdoor circuits are more prone to environmental hazards and poor weather conditions.

Go-Kart Deaths

There is insufficient data on the incidence rate of go-kart-related deaths.

However, an old study found 231 go-kart deaths of all ages reported to the CSPC from 1985 to 1986.

Around 67% of fatalities were children under 15 years old.

With technological advancements in go-karting and safety equipment, the death rate could be much lower today.

Who is Liable for Go-Kart Injuries?

Although rare, most go-kart racing accidents happen due to negligence.

The following are potentially liable parties in a go-kart case:

  • Go-Kart Racers: A go-kart driver may be liable for injuries if their negligence (e.g., distracted, reckless, intoxicated driving, etc.) causes an accident and injures other racers. 
  • Race Marshals: Marshals could be held responsible for failing to prevent accidents within reasonable expectations. 
  • Track Management Companies: Indoor and outdoor circuits require proper maintenance to avoid going-karters’ potential dangers. Failure to maintain a track and inadvertently causing an accident may lead to premises liability.
  • Go-Kart Owners and Maintenance Professionals: Rental companies must ensure their go-karts operate well before renting them out. Otherwise, they could be liable for go-kart injuries if a mechanical failure caused the accident.

Is Go-Karting Dangerous?

Go-kart racing is relatively safe when everyone involved follows the safety measures.

However, it can be hazardous when someone acts negligently and fails to observe race track rules. 

How to Ride Go-Karts Safely

Every go-kart driver should be proactive in avoiding safety risks [1].

These preventative measures can help you race safely as a beginner:

  • Start with indoor circuits. An indoor track is usually safer and easier to drive. As you increase your skills, you can progress to outdoor go-kart tracks.
  • Always wear your safety belt. Seat belts help prevent severe injuries in go-kart racing accidents. Never drive without one.
  • Wear full safety gear. Aside from a seat belt, you also need roll bars (to prevent rollovers), a helmet, a suit, gloves, karting shoes, a rib protector, and a neck brace.
  • Get proper training. Learn how to drive correctly before racing other people. Practice with a more experienced driver or take a formal course.
  • Do your research. Read go-kart racing rules and guidelines and familiarize yourself with safety flags. 
  • Maintain your go-kart. If you own a go-kart, create a regular maintenance schedule. It also helps to invest in high-quality safety harnesses and hand guards explicitly designed for go-karts.
  • Keep your hands on the wheel. Always keep your hands on the steering wheel, especially at higher speeds with an elevated risk of losing control.

Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys Today

Go-karts are not particularly dangerous compared to other motorsport vehicles, but they still pose some risks, especially to children.

Furthermore, go-kart-related injuries can cause significant losses, both physical and financial.

You could be entitled to financial compensation if you or a loved one were injured in a go-kart accident.

Our Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC attorneys can help you determine who is responsible for your damages and file a personal injury claim against them.

Contact our law firm at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.

Our lawyers handle all accepted cases on a contingency fee basis. You don’t have to pay our legal fees unless we win your case.

Resources: [1] NHTSA

Client Reviews

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