Can I Sue a Golf Course if I Get Hurt?
With the weather hot and the sun out, there’s no better time to hit the golf course. It’s nice to hang out with friends and play a good game. However, when you head out to the links, there are some precautions you should take. Not only could you get hit with a ball or club, but there are the golf carts to consider, landscaping hazards, drunken patrons, and even the forces of nature.
While it may not seem fair to suffer injuries through no fault of your own, in many cases it may be difficult to sue the golf course itself for your injuries (for reasons we’ll go into in a moment), so it’s important to hire a Mississippi injury lawyer to help you make your claim, so that you can be compensated properly for your injuries.
The dangers of golf courses
Golf may not seem like a dangerous sport, but do not underestimate the risks inherent in the game and being on a golf course. Golf injuries are frequent, according to GolfSupport.com; with an injury “rate of 1.8 per 1,000 persons, recreational sports – which also include golf – were found to be more ‘dangerous’ than rugby, hockey and other team sports.” Injuries on a golf course are not only common, but they can possibly be fatal. Golf Digest did a study that estimated that every year, there are about 40,000 golfers that seek emergency medical treatment due to errant golf balls and clubs.
Golf carts also pose a high risk of injury, both to the users and those around them. These small vehicles are responsible for thousands of injuries a year. The most common injuries reported from golf carts were due to falls, collisions, and trapped limbs. This number also takes into account non-golf related golf cart injuries as well.
Surprisingly, perhaps, lightning strike rates are one of the highest for golf courses. From 2006 to 2016, nine deaths were recorded on golf courses. It is important that if a thunderstorm does roll in while you’re playing, you seek shelter at the clubhouse. Remove yourself from the fairway, but do not stand under metal poles or trees.
Common golf course injuries
It may be surprising to know that there are many injuries that can be sustained on the golf course (besides an aching shoulder and a mild sunburn). Common golf course injuries include:
- Bone breaks and fractures
- Soft tissue damage
- Brain injuries and head trauma
- Spinal cord damage
- Head and neck injuries
- Wrongful death
These injuries can lead to long-term conditions and complications, costing thousands and thousands of dollars in hospital treatments and physical therapy. You could be left paralyzed, or with cognitive brain damage. These injuries can hamper your ability to work, costing you even more money due to lost wages. This is why it is important to have a lawyer on your side who can make sure that you are properly compensated for your pain and suffering.
So, can I sue if I’m injured on a course in Mississippi?
Yes, but there are limitations. Many golf courses have waivers that users have to sign before golfing. Many courses have their rules and warnings listed online, like Mississippi State University does. This club mentions restrictions of golf carts, directs you how to navigate the green, and even how to protect yourself in the event of inclement weather (like lightning). Plenty of golf clubs also have their rules listed at the actual location as well. Having the proper signage on the property may prevent the course from being liable for certain injuries you sustain, such as a golf ball to the head or a lightning strike. Signing a waiver or paper indicating that you have read the rules may insulate a club from some liability, but that is not always the case, so it’s worth calling an attorney if you get hurt.
However, if you trip down a broken step or a defective piece of the golf course’s property causes you injury, then you can hold the course owner or operator liable for your injuries through a premises liability lawsuit. The golf course has a duty of care to keep their property safe for customers and invitees, and while they can warn about the risks inherent in playing golf, they can’t do the same for defective equipment or hazardous property conditions.
How can a Mississippi injury lawyer help me?
Often, it’s difficult to determine exactly how injuries occurred. It may look like one thing when it is actually another. For instance, a man was able to secure a settlement of one million dollars against a golf course. According to CNN, “Gaylon Jones was on the driving range at the Westchase Golf and Country Club when he ‘toed’ a drive and struck a granite marker used to separate players from each other. His ball rebounded and struck him in the face, causing permanent damage and ultimately the loss of his right eye.” The country club had been previously warned about the granite markers, which helped Jones win his case.
As you can see, the laws can have loopholes, and for that reason, it’s best to have an experienced and knowledgeable Mississippi injury lawyer on your side. Merkel & Cocke, P.A. has the skills and resources you need if you are injured on or off the links. If you were visiting from out of state for a weekend of golf, we can help you as well. Please call 662-627-9641, or complete our contact form and schedule a free consultation at one of our offices in Jackson, Clarksdale, Greenville, or Oxford. We proudly serve clients throughout Mississippi.
After graduating from the University of Virginia Law School in 1975, Mr. Cocke and Mr. Merkel established Merkel & Cocke, P.A. in 1982. Since that time the emphasis of Mr. Cocke’s practice has progressed toward medical malpractice. At the present time his practice is exclusively devoted to handling medical negligence cases for the plaintiff, either as a result of direct contact by the client or on referral from other attorneys who are not familiar with the handling of medical negligence cases. Mr. Cocke was selected Best Lawyer of the year for 2012 and 2014 in The Memphis area in the field of Medical Malpractice and has been selected a Best Lawyer and Super Lawyer every year since 2006. Learn more about John Hartwell Cocke here.