Golfing Liability

The following story is based on the logistics and actions of the golfers in a golfing liability civil suit in Ohio.


Steve, Rob and Mike where able to get together one Saturday morning to have breakfast and play eighteen holes of golf at their local golf club.  They met at a local restaurant for breakfast and then headed to the golf course for their 8:30 am tee time. 

They all played a good first nine holes at the golf club and where starting on their tenth hole.  This particular hole was designed with the tenth hole was across from the tee for the eleventh hole.  There was a gap of approximately thirty to forty yards.  Steve took his first shot and made it on the edge of the green.  Rob took his shot and made it on the opposite side of the green from Steve.  Wanting to get closer to the pin than Rob and Steve, Mike took his swing not noticing the man about to tee off on the eleventh green.  He also didn’t think that he would end up on the eleventh tee either.  Mike’s ball went errant and struck the other golfer on the eleventh tee in the temple.  When Mike, Steve and Rob got closer to their hole they noticed the commotion on the eleventh tee.  They went right over.

The man, Mr. Smith was on the ground with some blood on his temple from what appeared to be a surface wound.  He was taken to the nearest emergency room and found that he also had a temporal subdural hematoma.  A serious condition.  The man eventually recovered after extensive medical treatment.  The man obtained an attorney and filed a claim with Mike’s homeowner’s insurance for this golfing liability injury.

Mike’s insurance company could not reach an agreement with Mr. Smith’s attorney on the amount owed to Mr. Smith.  This is not unusual for a serious bodily injury claim.  Mike’s insurance company advised him that the next step would be mediation or a trial to determine the golfing liability percentage and how much money should be paid to Mr. Smith for his injuries and other losses.  For a moment Mike was concerned until his adjuster advised that under his homeowner’s policy he was afforded legal representation in the matter of a bodily injury claim.  Mike was relieved to know someone had his best interests at heart.

Mike golfing liability case went to trial and the jury found Mike seventy percent liable in this case because he didn’t yell “fore” or some type of warning to Mr. Smith and because Mike’s golf ball was errant.  They jury assigned a monetary amount to Mike’s claim that was within his homeowner’s insurance limits and Mr. Smith was paid by Mike’s insurance carrier.


Etler-Kettenacker Agency is available to discuss what is covered under your homeowner’s policy.  It typically covers you under most liability occurrences while you are away from your home however, each policy is different.  The golfing liability example above shows that you never know what may happen, so being prepared with good liability coverage can make unfortunate events much easier to navigate.