Spring weather brings out the golfers and start of the season of Golf Outings. Taking a good swing, making good contact and sending a straight shot that lands where you wanted the ball to land is a great feeling and great fun. But, more often for some than others, the ball may hook or slice off to the side, maybe onto another fairway. If you are really unlucky, the ball might even strike and injure another person.
Golf Digest reports that some 40,000 people are admitted to emergency rooms every year with head injuries caused by errant golf balls and flying club heads. This can lead to skin lacerations and bruising to cerebral hemorrhage to skull fractures and sometimes death. The greatest injuries result from blows to the side of the head.
In Illinois, the mere fact that a person is struck by a golf ball driven by one playing a game of golf does not constitute proof of negligence on the part of the golfer who hit the ball. The possibility that the ball will fly off in another direction is a risk inherent in the game. It is common knowledge that many bad shots can result even though every stroke is delivered with the best possible intention and without any negligence. The issue becomes whether the person taking the shot took reasonable steps to minimize the risk of harm.
To recover for injuries, the victim (plaintiff) must show that the golfer (defendant) failed to exercise ordinary care for the safety of persons reasonably within the range of danger of being struck by the ball. The golfer would clearly be liable if his or her conduct was either deliberate, willful or with a reckless disregard for the safety of the other player. An example would be driving a ball without warning, when too close to other persons in the field of play. Excessive consumption of alcohol by the golfer, impairing his or her judgment or golfing skills, might also demonstrate willful or reckless conduct and create liability for injuries.
If you believe that you have suffered an injury caused by the negligence or willful and reckless conduct of another, contact Martucci Law for a free office consultation to discuss your case.