Earlier this month, an appellate court in California issued a written opinion in a premises liability case that was brought by the mother of a child who was struck by an errant golf ball as she was wheeling her son in a stroller on a walking path owned and maintained by the city. The appellate court hearing the case determined that the city was not entitled to government trail immunity because the dangerous hazard that caused the injury was not a condition of the trail itself.
The Facts of the Case
The walking path where the injury occurred directly abuts a private golf course. A few years before the accident, the golf course installed a fence and strategically planted large trees to decrease the likelihood that golf balls would leave the course. However, there was no evidence that the city took any precaution regarding golf balls that were hit out of the boundaries of the golf course.
The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the city as well as the golf course. The plaintiff claimed that the city failed to take any action to remedy the known dangerous condition created by the potential of errant golf balls.
The city asserted trail immunity, which prohibits injured parties from naming government landowners in premises liability lawsuits if the injury occurred on an “unpaved road which provides access to fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, riding, including animal and all types of vehicular riding, water sports, recreational or scenic areas.” The trial court agreed that the city was entitled to immunity and dismissed the case. The plaintiff appealed.
The Case Is Reversed on Appeal
On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the dangerous condition that caused her son’s injuries was not a part of the trail, and thus trail immunity should not attach. The court agreed, explaining that there must be some connection between the hazard and the trail in order for trail immunity to apply. The court took a common-sense approach to the case, stating that “recognizing immunity here would give City a disincentive to correct a dangerous condition” of the golf course. However, by determining that the city is not entitled to immunity, the city “will be prompted to correct the design of the golf course rather than the design of the trail.” Thus, the court determined that immunity was not appropriate and that the plaintiff’s case should proceed toward trial against both defendants.
Have You Been Injured in a South Florida Slip and Fall?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a South Florida slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Private citizens, businesses, and governments are all responsible to maintain their land in a safe manner, and when a landowner fails to do so, they may be held liable for any injuries that are caused. To learn more about South Florida premises liability lawsuits, and to discuss your case with a dedicated personal injury attorney, call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Florida Appellate Court Determines Water Company May Be Liable in Slip-and-Fall Case, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published May 4, 2017.
The Importance of Following All Procedural Requirements in Florida Personal Injury Cases, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published May 17, 2017.