Golf course accident claims

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.

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Even the most competent golfers can play an errant shot - a sports 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?

If you were injured in a golf course accident in the last three years and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Explaining No Win, No Fee agreements

No Win, No Fee golfing accident compensation claims commence after a Claimant agrees a Conditional Fee Agreement, also known as a "CFA", with their chosen injury lawyer.

The CFA sets out a contract or "terms and conditions" between you and your solicitor. The agreement explains the service provided by your solicitor and the success fee to be taken from your compensation award after the injury lawyer wins the case.

You have absolutely no hidden fees when choosing a Quittance solicitor. You are able to focus on your rest and recovery, knowing that you will never be out of pocket and there is nothing whatsoever to pay at the outset.

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

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

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Accidents at work - Claims against your employer

Every year, 600,000* employees are injured in accidents at work. If you have suffered an injury or illness at work, you may able to claim compensation.

Find out if you can claim golf course accident compensation from your employer: Read more about work accident claims

*Source: 2016/17 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report

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Meet the QLS team

The national panel of Quittance solicitors handle all types of personal injury claims, from more minor injury cases to long-term injuries. Our solicitors are selected on the basis of their track record in recovering compensation and their professionalism.

Click here to see more of the Quittance team.

Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Emma Bell Employers and Public Liability Panel Solicitor
Shahida Chaudery Complex Injury Claims Panel Solicitor
Paul Carvis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Paul is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel, a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, and has served as a Deputy District Judge, giving him a uniquely broad understanding of the claims process.

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