Golf Course Accident Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a golf course accident we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a golf course accident and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

In our guide to claiming golf course accident compensation:

Introduction

Statistics show that annually around 12,000 golfers require hospital treatment after being injured on a golf course in the UK. In one year alone more than 3,500 head injuries were reported.

Even the most competent golfers can play an errant shot - a spectator and two marshals at the Open championship in 2014 were struck in the face, and a spectator was hit in the head by a golf ball at the Scottish Open in 2015.

Golfers swinging a golf club when playing a ball may also accidentally hit another player - in the face or body - causing injuries.

Whether compensation can be successfully claimed for injuries sustained on a golf course is likely to be very dependent on the circumstances of the accident.

Golf swing

Do I have a golf course accident claim?

You should be able to make a golf course accident injury claim if you sustained an injury:

  • within the last three years, and;
  • another person was to blame, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.
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Injury claim eligibility - Common questions

What if a child was injured?

The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.

A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a golf course accident claim on their own behalf.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

How much compensation can I claim for a golf course accident?

The amount of money you could claim for your golf course accident will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your golf course accident has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a golf course accident? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

What is the average injury compensation for a golf course accident claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a golf course accident will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your golf course accident compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

Will I have to pay tax on my golf course accident compensation?

If you receive financial compensation following a golf course accident injury, specific legislation ensures that you do not have to pay tax on it. This is the case no matter whether the compensation is received as a lump sum or as staggered payments.

Golf course accident compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a golf course accident injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your golf course accident claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a golf course injury claim take?

How long it can take to secure compensation for a golf course accident can vary considerably.

For example, a simple uncontested occupiers liability claim might be concluded in a matter of weeks. If the negligent party denies liability, a claim can take considerably longer. On average an occupiers liability claim takes 6 to 9 months. Read more: How long will my claim take?

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your golf course accident claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

Serious injury

Depending on where the blow lands, golf balls travelling at high speed have caused serious injury to players, spectators and members of the public outside the course or range.

Being struck on the back or side of the head may cause concussion or brain injury, including cerebral haemorrhage.

Being hit in the face may break bones or lead to teeth damage, or lead to the partial loss of sight if there is a blow to the eye.

Who is liable for accidents on a golf course or driving range?

In most cases, the golfer who struck the ball is liable for the accident, but only if the golfer's actions are negligent, falling below the expected standard.

Generally a golfer should not play the stroke until he is certain that the area is clear. A cry of "fore" if another player strays across the path of the ball may not be sufficient to allow that person to get out of danger.

Although golf liability insurance is available, it is estimated that only 10% of golfers have cover, so any claims for injury may need to be made against the defendant's household policy. Not all home insurance policies, however, include public liability cover for sports injury and may offer only restricted cover for equipment used for golf.

Visiting players from abroad may not have home insurance, so the potential for compensation against a defendant golfer may be limited.

A solicitor will be able to investigate further and provide clarity on whether an injured claimant has a claim against a golfer responsible for their injury, and whether a payout is likely.

The golf course's liability

Setting out general duties that employers have towards their employees, the Health and Safety at Work Act also requires that people other than those at work are protected from risks to their health and safety. This includes club members, visiting players and spectators.

As part of the golf course's duty of care, fences should be erected to contain areas where a golf ball might be mis-hit and cause injury. Where this is not possible, prominently displayed signs should alert golf course visitors to the risk of injury. The layout of the course should also be designed minimise risk.

Where there is a lack of fencing or signage, or fences or signs are poorly maintained, the golf course may be found liable for any injuries sustained as a consequence.

Following a significant claim against a Scottish golf course - and recognising their duty to protect the public from straying into the path of golf balls - the British and International Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) and the Golf Course Managers Association (GCMA) have worked in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive to create a new safety management system.

All golf courses are encouraged to use the new documents for their risk assessments.

Faulty equipment

Many courses hire out golf buggies. These need to be fully maintained to ensure their brakes do not fail, or that they do not roll over. The management of a golf course may be liable for an accident caused by faulty equipment or inadequate signage of uneven ground or dangerous slopes that cause a golf cart to topple and injure the occupants.

Players' and spectators' responsibilities

As well as taking care not to hit another player with a golf ball, players (and spectators) also need to ensure they do not walk into the path of a shot that is being played. Ignoring signs and walking out of the rough or trees into the fairway without due care may mean that any claim for compensation is reduced for contributory negligence.

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

No win, no fee - the facts

No win, no fee means that your solicitor will not charge you anything if your golf course accident claim is unsuccessful. 'No win, no fee' is also known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA'.

No win, no fee guarantee

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making a golf course accident claim, even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my golf course accident claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my golf course accident claim?

If your golf course accident claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Is there a catch?

The Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) sets out the terms between you and your solicitor., No Win No Fee is a regulated activity and as such there should be no nasty surprises in the agreement. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you read the agreement carefully and ask any questions if you are unsure.

How do personal injury solicitors get paid?

If your golf course accident claim is successful, the defendant, or their insurer, will pay the compensation and your solicitors fees.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Golf course accident FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a golf course accident claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the golf course accident to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your golf course accident claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a golf course accident after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim golf course accident compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a golf course accident claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert