Like all golf fans, we are disappointed that the pre-tournament favourite Dustin Johnson has had to pull out of the Masters in Augusta after suffering a back injury.
We do wonder whether he is seeking advice about pursuing a personal injury claim.
The reported circumstances are that he fell on a staircase in his rental home. He was wearing socks and slipped and fell down three steps. He suffered an injury to his back and his left elbow.
He waited until the last minute to withdraw from the tournament. We can only feel sorry for him as his recent form has been excellent, winning his past three tournaments.
If the rental home had been in Scotland, the owners would have an obligation to ensure that the property has been safely maintained. There would be some investigation regarding the condition of the stairs. For example, were they slippy or worn?
If Mr Johnson were able to establish that the rental company had some liability for the accident, they would argue that there has been some contributory negligence. In effect, it could be argued that he is partly at fault as he was wearing socks at the time.
There is then a very interesting question. How could he prove the amount of any loss of earnings he has suffered? For his four days’ absence from work, this year’s Masters champion will take home $1.8 million from a $10 million fund. The player who finishes 10th will receive $270,000. Where would Mr Johnson have finished? That clearly involves an element of speculation. Ultimately, he would need to prove on the balance of probabilities where he is likely to have finished on the leaderboard. He would no doubt work closely with his personal injury lawyers to obtain evidence from a suitably qualified golf expert able to provide a report to the court offering an opinion as to where he would have finished on the leader board.
Mr Johnson will possibly be seeking advice from experienced personal injury lawyers. While we at Jackson Boyd Lawyers regularly deal with personal injury claims involving falls on steps and stairs in Scotland, unfortunately our jurisdiction does not extend to Augusta!
We wish Mr Johnson well in his recovery. We hope that he will be able to travel to the UK for the open at Royal Birkdale in July 2017.
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