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The Risk of A Golfer (and other Sports Participants)

By November 4, 2016October 6th, 2020Insurance

Golf“Shortly after I started playing golf with Jerry Ford, I thought it was time to take some lessons. Not golf lessons. First aid.” Bob Hope commenting on playing golf with ex-president Gerald Ford.

When I started in the insurance industry, I learned pretty quickly that one must learn the game of golf in order to survive. Golfing is as part of our world as networking events or grabbing coffee with a client. It’s just what you do. We’ve never had any injury, that was until a few weeks ago. A golfer was standing on the green when a shanked ball flew down the fairway without warning and smashed into his eye socket. The question remains, who’s at fault?

There is a certain physicality with golf. It’s considered a sport and there’s scientific proof that’s it’s good for your health. With that consideration, more than a few courts have had the opportunity to review injuries sustained from a day out on the course. Circumstances vary and could be from another golfer hitting a rogue ball, damage to homes along the fairway, a car or person on a nearby road have all been subjects on court decisions.

Golfer Liability to Golfer – While playing with friends, a golfer shanks a ball hitting another golfer. The injured party claims the failure to yell “Fore” is negligence. In a similar case in New York, the courts found that a party that participates in a recreational activity agrees to take on a certain risk that is association with that activity. A shanked ball is said to reflect a common risk of the game of golf. That standing does stand alone. This would not apply to a work event. In the event that it’s a work-related golf tournament for the party injured, worker’s compensation would pay out.

Golfer Liability to a Property Owner –There have been lawsuits by property owners struck by balls as well. The owner claimed the golfer had liability for failure to warn the occupant. The injured owner was not successful in his claim for injuries. In reviewing the circumstance, the court ruled “persons living in organized communities must suffer some damage, and annoyance and inconvenience from each other. If one lives in the city, he must expect to suffer the dirt, smoke, noise some odors, and confusion incident to city life. So, too, one who deliberately decides to reside in the suburbs on very desirable lots and adjoining golf clubs and thus receive the social benefits and other not inconsiderable advantages of country club surroundings must accept the annoyances.” The same ruling has been found for pedestrians on adjacent streets.

This information could apply to most sporting events whether it be softball, basketball, or little league. The idea is that by participating in many activities, you as a person agree to take on an assumed amount of risk.

If you have questions regarding your Oklahoma City liability insurance, ask you agent. If they can’t help ECI is always here.