As I discussed in the prior post, the courts will not impose liability where a golfer is hit by an errant ball. As a general rule, it is a known risk of the game. The injured party is deemed to have assumed the risk and will not be allowed a recovery against the player that hit the ball.
However, there are cases where the courts will allow a recovery. In those cases defendant must have engaged in conduct which is either grossly negligent or intentional.
In a case that we handled, Dr. X was showing golf swings to Magda, his housekeeper. Dr. X was teaching Magda in his backyard. While demonstrating a swing he hit his housekeeper in the eye with his club, and she sustained an orbital fracture which required surgery (open reduction and internal fixation).
In that case we are able to recover against Dr. X. Our claim was that Dr. X should have been more careful and been aware that Magda was too close. The case was settled for $250,000.
It is interesting to note that both this case and the recent Court of Appeals case involve physicians playing golf. Perhaps, doctors should take-up a safer hobby, such as bridge?
Mark E. Seitelman, 12/28/10, www.seitelman.com.