Engineering Expert Witness Discusses Slip and Fall While Mini-Golfing

    Engineering Expert WitnessThis case involves a slip-and-fall accident at a mini-golf course. The plaintiff was playing mini-golf at a large course. Twenty minutes prior to the plaintiff’s arrival, it had rained heavily, but no warnings were provided to the plaintiff. Additionally, there were no warnings at particular holes regarding conditions that may be dangerous while golfing. Most of the surface at the different holes was comprised of an astroturf, which would become slippery when wet. At the hole in question, the player was expected to hit the ball up a hill, where it flattened out, only to have another hill, and then proceed to the hole. In the space between the two hills, there was a large triangle object which acted as a hazard. The plaintiff struck his ball, but it stopped in the area between the two hills. As the plaintiff went to hit his second stroke, he slipped on the incline in between the hills, and made contact with the triangle hazard. Subsequently, the plaintiff sustained a broken wrist and a concussion.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • How should a mini-golf course react after it rains, and what safety measures should be taken?

    Expert Witness Response E-006971

    A majority of the golf course standards in ASTM involve the construction materials of golf courses. ASTM F 1637, Standard Practice for Safe Walking Surfaces would require the foreseeable walkway surface (the playing surface) to be slip resistant at the time of the incident. If they allowed the plaintiff to play on a slippery surface, that would be a problem. Also, the hazard needs to be placed as to foreseeable safety issues. Generally, there are a number of factors that need to be considered given the facts of this case. For surfaces like astroturf, especially if there is an incline/decline, precipitation can lead to dangerous conditions. The mini-golf course should have, at the very least, warned the patrons about the dangerous conditions. Also, given the foot traffic that was likely, the surface was slippery because of how worn down it was (exacerbating the situation). Before allowing golfers to play the course, the supervisor/ owner should have examined the course, looking for any dangerous circumstances that could lead to an injury.

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