When a Round of Golf Leads to the ER

Madeleine Jones
July 20, 2017

golfing, personal injuryGolf courses have a duty of care that includes making sure golfers are safe from accidents and injuries from the time they tee off to the time they go home. It is not uncommon for a relaxing trip to the golf course to lead to a stressful trip to the emergency room. Whether a golfer is injured by an errant ball, a faulty fixture, or a malfunctioning golf cart, the course owner may be liable for the personal injuries and property damage that result.

Common Causes of Golfing Injuries

Errant Balls – Errant balls can cause traumatic brain injury, broken bones, and property damage. When an errant ball strikes a golfer, liability may fall to the course if poor design, inaccurate yardage markers, etc. places golfers at risk of errant ball strikes. Liability may also be assigned to the golfer who struck the ball if they did so with the knowledge that there was a risk the ball would strike golfers down the fairway.

Golf Carts – Golf carts have become faster and lighter which makes them more dangerous than ever. Many do not have seat belts, brake lights, or signals. Accidents involving golf carts include impaired driving, driving too fast for course conditions, and reckless driving over trails and terrain. The driver of a golf cart is liable for the injuries they may cause to other golfers. Similarly, the course can be held liable if they fail to properly maintain the golf cart so that it is safe for drivers to operate. It is estimated that approximately 15,000 golfers are injured each year in golf cart related accidents.

Slips, Trips, and Falls Golf courses may be liable for slips, trips, and falls that occur because of poor course design, inadequate maintenance, or missing signage warning golfers of known risks such as embankments, loose slopes, soft shoulders, etc.

Maintaining a Reasonably Safe Course

Golf courses are not required to eliminate all risks of the course, however, they do have a duty to ensure the course is reasonably safe for playing the game. Owners and operators of golf courses can be held liable by a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer when the course fails to take reasonable steps such as installing signage, maintaining golf carts, repairing trails/paths, and not over serving guests alcoholic beverages. These negligent actions breach their duty of care to the general public and leave them liable for the injuries and property damage that can result.