Florida is a golfer’s paradise. We have golf courses of all types, levels and cost, just about everywhere. There are country club courses, public courses, municipal courses, par 3 courses and driving ranges. Unfortunately, people are injured and property is damaged at all of them. There are some things to know about the injuries and damages that may occur from golf.
The most prevalent injury is the result of being struck by a golf ball or golf club. Perhaps surprisingly, not every such injury gives the injured party a valid claim. It all depends on the legal idea of negligence, that the golfer did something carelessly or improperly. The victim will have to prove that the golfer did something more than simply hit a bad shot. If the golfer hit when he shouldn’t have—like someone was in front of him and he failed to look before he hit his shot—or he swung where he shouldn’t have—like he took a practice swing near another person—that can produce liability. On the other hand, hitting a slice that strikes another player on another hole, may just be a bad shot—an expected risk of the game—and there may be no liability for doing that. Spectators at events fall into this category: There’s a risk of that happening and everybody knows and accepts that.
The concept of negligence also applies to the injured person. If she’s not where she should have been or not watching where others were hitting, she may defeat any claim by that conduct. At the least, her negligence can reduce her claim by the amount her own fault contributed to the accident.
These rules apply at courses, par 3s, driving ranges, putting greens and anywhere else a golf ball or club is being used. They also apply to damage caused to property, whether a car windshield, house window or screen or a golf cart. If the golfer failed in his or her duty to be careful and did more than merely mis-hit the ball, the golfer can be responsible for the damages or injuries. Of course, parking near a golf course or living along one can undermine a claim.
Golf Cart Accident
There are also some cases involving injuries by golf carts that should be mentioned here. These are more like car accidents and the rules about proper care in operating the vehicle will apply. Excessive speed, failure to watch for others, not observing course rules, etc., will affect fault. Careless driving of a golf cart has about the same result as careless driving of a car.
Finally, just so you know, here’s something not well known: If you happen to hit someone with a golf ball, golf club or golf cart—accidentally, of course—any claim can come under your homeowner’s insurance policy and your insurer will defend and pay that claim up to the limit of your coverage. If that happens to you, call your homeowner’s insurance agent right away to report the potential claim. If you are turned down or have no applicable insurance, call us for advice. We’re glad to help.
It is very important to understand that while being struck by a golf ball or golf club or golf cart is not always the basis of a lawsuit, it certainly can be. If you are injured in any such incident, you should get a legal opinion to see if your facts support a claim. Contact the Kissimmee personal injury lawyers at Draper Law Office for a free consultation.