When it comes to the hazards of golf, getting hit by a golf ball is painful but not as painful as being run over by a golf cart, driven by your best friend.
Can you make a claim if that was to happen? The short answer is yes, as long you can establish that your friend was negligent, which may be as easy as a one foot putt. However, by far the hardest is the 30-foot putt, which is the decision of whether to make the claim against your friend personally.
You know he has the means to meet a significant judgment against him, but this will bring an end to the friendship and you no longer have a golf buddy?
However, you have suffered a very serious injury and this is having an impact on your ability to work and look after your very young family. What do you do?
Recently I was faced with this dilemma for a close friend of mine whose mother was run over by her best friend.
Despite suffering very serious injuries, she was adamant she didn’t want to make a claim against her friend if it meant it would be against her personally.
I didn’t want to let my friend down and never taking no for answer, I started to think of ways to try and get around the problem.
I thought it might be a motor vehicle accident, so I could commence the claim against the Nominal Defendant, but the case law was against me. Deep down I knew it wasn’t a motor vehicle accident and was clutching at straws.
I even started to investigate the possibility that the golf cart was mechanically faulty so I lodged the claim against the golf club where the accident occurred. I based the claim on the basis that the cart was faulty and the driver was adamant she secured the park brake.
The witnesses (her best friends) didn’t support this version and so disappeared my claim against the club for mechanical failure.
The witnesses confirmed what I already knew. There was nothing wrong with the cart and it was a simple case of the driver not securing the park brake.
During the interviewing of the witnesses, I discovered they were all full members of their local golf club and started to investigate what the membership fees covered.
Upon contacting Golf Australia, to my surprise, I was informed that as a part of a golfer’s club membership, they are registered with Golf Australia and their membership includes a policy of insurance.
I then focused my attention on a claim against the driver, knowing she would be indemnified by Golf Australia, as part of her membership.
After lodging the claim with Golf Australia, they accepted the claim and within a short period of time, I was able to negotiate an out of court settlement.
It was like getting a hole in one!
If you have suffered an injury due to someone’s negligence, even if they are a close friend or relative, you may be entitled to compensation. In many cases it is possible to lodge a claim against somebody else, instead of the the person directly. For more information, please call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800, or make an online enquiry.
Written by Ivan Dzajkovski.
Ivan Dzajkovski is a Practice Group Leader at Stacks Goudkamp. Ivan has over 25 years of working in personal injury law. He has particular experience in acting for people with catastrophic injuries and on behalf of people who lack mental capacity. Ivan acted for the Plaintiff in Stubbs v NRMA which at the time was the highest amount of damages awarded in a personal injury claim by a NSW Court.