Golf is a popular sport across the United States, but injuries on and off the course are shockingly common. According to one golf website, 40,000 golfers have to visit the emergency room every year, and plenty more innocent bystanders end up in the same place due to a golfing injury. If you or someone you love suffers an injury like this, learn more about your chances of success during a personal injury lawsuit.
The threat from golf
Golf is a great way to burn calories, combat stress and improve your heart health, but the game also presents several hazards. When you think that a professional golf player can achieve a head speed of 100 miles per hour, it's easy to understand how a speeding golf ball could cause serious bodily harm. An impact with the skull can cause concussion, a fracture or cerebral bleeding.
So what do you do if a golf player injures you?
Whether you are a golf player, a spectator or just an innocent passer-by, you'll need to prove that the other person was liable for your injury if you want to successfully file a lawsuit.
There are normally four key elements of a personal injury lawsuit that you will need to prove. You and your lawyer will need to prove that:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care.
- The defendant breached this duty.
- The breach of duty injured you.
- The injuries were serious enough to warrant compensation.
How does this work in a game of golf?
When somebody plays golf, he or she must understand the risk of injuring somebody else, and the player should take all necessary precautions. If the golf player does not take precautions and injures you, you could have reasonable grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
It's generally easy to prove that somebody was playing golf and that his or her actions injured you. You can also normally get medical evidence of your injuries. The challenge in a golfing personal injury lawsuit is often finding evidence that shows the defendant breached any duty towards you.
Proving negligence – on the course
When you're playing a round of golf, you would normally understand the risk that a golf ball would present. As such, players would generally take precautions, including staying out of the way of other players and not walking in front of a player when he or she is taking a shot. In fact, to alert other players that you're about to hit a golf ball, it's common practice to shout, "Fore!"
A judge may decide that a golf player is negligent for another player's injury if he or she does not take reasonable precautions. For example, aside from a verbal warning, the judge may expect the player to check where the other player is before hitting the ball. Nonetheless, proving another player's negligence is not always easy. In some cases, a lawsuit may fail because the collision occurred despite reasonable care by both parties.
Proving negligence – spectators and passers-by
If a golf ball hits you while you walk past a golf course, your attorney may need to file a lawsuit against different parties. For example, although the player may not have done anything negligent, your attorney may show that the golf course owner was liable for your injury because there weren't adequate safety barriers around the golf course.
You should also understand that the defendant's attorney might try to show that you were liable for your injury because your behavior was reckless. For example, if you decide to walk your dog across a private golf course, the defendant's attorney could argue that you are to blame for any injury you suffer because the golf players should not reasonably expect to have to consider people walking in front of them.
Even if you do have a right to walk across the golf course, you must still act in a careful manner. As such, if you (or your child) suddenly ran across the course without looking, a court may decide you are liable for any injury that occurs. In these cases, a court may rule comparative negligence, which means you and the golf player are both liable. As such, you may only receive a percentage of the available compensation.
Thousands of people attend hospital every year because of golfing accidents. If you suffer a golfing injury, you should always contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to make sure you get the right outcome.