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When Chaos Strikes at the Golf Course
ELI5: Negligence

Now that the weather’s getting really nice, people are beginning to head to the golf course for some physical activity that isn’t too demanding. Most patrons at the golf course are planning on a relaxing afternoon; they’re not planning on searching for a personal injury attorney. However, while golf may seem like a relaxing and relatively safe sport, serious injuries can definitely occur on the golf course. You may be surprised by the amount of damage a golf ball can cause. You may be further surprised by just how common it is for people to be hit by golf clubs when a careless patron is practicing their swing in an area people normally wouldn’t. At this point, you may be wondering, who is liable for injuries that occur on a golf course?

Assumption of Risk

Assumption of risk is a legal defense that a defendant may claim in a personal injury case. There are multiple types of assumption of risk. Express assumption of risk means that the plaintiff was expressly warned that a risk exists. This warning may be verbal or, more commonly, written. A waiver is a good example of express assumption of risk. Implied assumption of risk can be split into two categories: primary implied assumption of risk and secondary implied assumption of risk. Primary implied assumption of risk means that the plaintiff’s conduct suggests that they knew of the risks and proceeded anyway. Secondary implied assumption of risk means that even though the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, the plaintiff conducted themselves in a manner that suggested they understood the risk.

Assumption of Risk at the Golf Course

Depending on the injury that occurs while you’re on the golf course, you may have unknowingly assumed the risk of injury. For example, if you’re on the course and get hit by a golf ball that someone badly sliced, the golf course is not likely liable for this. This is because of the primary implied assumption of risk: you knew, or reasonably should have known that, due to the nature of golf, being hit by a golf ball on a golf course was a risk that you were taking when you went to play golf. The fact that you still went to the golf course means you’ve assumed that risk. Some golf courses may make you sign a waiver, which would be an example of express assumption of risk.

Inappropriate Behavior

Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to behave at the golf course. However, this isn’t always the golf course’s problem. Some people may lose their tempers on the golf course, causing them to throw the club or hit things with the club if they’re too far over par. If someone is injured when a patron swings the club around or throws a club, this isn’t necessarily the golf course’s fault. Foreseeability is important here. If a golf course knew, or reasonably should have known, that a patron was going to hook the ball on the fairway of the fourth hole, then throw their nine iron in a rage (because they’ve done it before), they may have a higher duty of care toward their other patrons. However, a golf course has no reliable way of knowing that a person will become a danger to others.

 

Premises Liability and the Land

Premises liability is a huge cause for concern among golf courses. Premises liability is a legal concept under which property owners typically are responsible for injuries caused by hazards on their property. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the aforementioned is not always the case. When it comes to golf courses, the property owner should expect that people are going to be walking all over the place, looking for their golf balls. Golf courses are responsible for removing any safety hazards from their land. If, for example, there’s a sinkhole in the rough, and a patron steps in the sink hole and hurts themselves, the golf course could be liable for the injuries especially if the golf course didn’t take any measures to keep customers safe such as removing the sinkhole in a timely manner, or warning golfers about the sinkhole.

Golf Carts

Lastly, golf courses need to be on the lookout for customers who aren’t using their golf carts in an appropriate manner. If someone is injured by a golf cart, the golf course may have some liability. Golf courses can limit their liability by posting safety tips for using golf carts in a conspicuous place. Having rules and safety measures posted inside the vehicles may help the golf courses to limit their liability. Finally, golf courses may want to take steps in order to limit their liability by renting out carts with lower speed limits and higher safety ratings.

When You’ve Been Injured

If you’ve been injured on a golf course, Moxie Law Group is here for you. Our talented attorneys are committed to fighting for the maximum compensation every time. We know from our extensive personal injury experience that injury related expenses aren’t just medical bills. It can be loss of income, loss of earning potential, and so much more. If you have been injured on a golf course, and you’re ready to explore your legal options, contact Moxie Law Group today.