Golf Course Accidents: Injuries from Golf Balls, Golf Clubs and Golf Carts
A look at the serious injuries that can occur while golfing.
Injuries From Golf Balls and Golf ClubsA golf ball, small as it is, can cause considerable damage. Although the likelihood of being struck with a golf ball is relatively low, a small percentage of ball strikes do cause life-threatening injuries. In 1999, Golf Digest report on a series of tests involving golf balls and automobile crash dummies conducted by Dr. Dave Janda of the Institute for Preventative Sports Medicine. A golf ball machine was used to propel the ball and hit the dummy in the head, chest and arm. Computer equipment measured the impact to determine the extent of injuries. The test found that injuries could be serious, many fatal, unless treated properly and quickly. The most vulnerable area is the temporal area of the skull. Golfers can also be injured if they are standing too close to a golfer and are struck by a swinging golf club. The consumption of alcohol can also complicate injuries; a head injury combined with alcohol can be fatal. If you are hit in the head, seek medical attention promptly.
Injuries from Golf CartsFrom 1990 to 2006, approximately 147,700 people were treated in emergency rooms for injuries relating to golf carts. Interestingly enough, numbers are only going up. In 1990, 5,772 people went to the emergency room. In 2006, 13,411 people were treated. Falls from golf carts are the most reported problem. If a person falls from a golf cart and hits their head, the consequences can be catastrophic. In the summer of 2008, a Chicago man fell from a golf cart driven by a course employee at Indian Lakes Resort and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. If you are tasked with driving the golf cart, take this responsibility seriously. Do not drive to fast, and take into consideration the weather and terrain. Brake carefully and slowly, especially on slopes. And always slow down for turns. Finally, remind other passengers to keep arms and legs inside the cart at all times, and never engage in horseplay.
Slip and Fall Accidents and Other Injuries on the Golf CourseSlip and falls on the golf course are on the rise, with changes in the way golf shoes are designed. Golf course owners see a lot of slip and fall claims. Injuries can occur on walkways, slopes and paths. Also, with any thunderstorm, there is always the risk of lightning strike. PGA golfer Lee Trevino was famously struck by lightning during the second round of the Western Open at the Butler National Golf Club in Oakbrook, IL on June 28, 1975. Since 1975, several dozen people have also died on the golf course from being struck by lightning. And although highly unlikely, there is the risk of animal attack. In October 2009, a 77-year-old South Carolina man lost his arm after being bitten by a 10-foot alligator in a nearby pond. And the risk of human attack? A 34-year-old Seattle man was sentenced to 21 months in prison in July 2009 for bashing another golfer in the head during a fight on the Auburn Golf Course in 2008. The 45-year-old victim suffered permanent brain damage and memory loss.
Golf Course Lawsuits and SettlementsGolf courses have faced numerous lawsuits over the years from those injured on the links. In February 2009, a 67-year-old golfer sued Candia Woods Golf Course in New Hampshire after his own golf ball struck a yardage marker and ricocheted into his own eye. In January 2008, a New Jersey woman who was struck by a stray golf ball while watching her husband play golf sued Owl's Creek Golf Course for $1 million. In 2007, a Chicago woman struck in the head by a golf ball sued a golf course and the golfer who hit the ball. If you have been hurt on the golf course, have a personal injury lawyer review your case to determine if negligence on the part of the golf course, another golfer, or even the manufacturer of the golf cart contributed to your injuries.