Napa County Golfer Wins Her Appeals Court Case After Suffering Severe Injuries in a Yellow Jacket Attack

The law in California clearly obliges property owners/occupiers to keep their properties “reasonably safe.” As part of that duty, the law requires property owners/occupiers to inspect their properties and ascertain the condition of those properties. If a dangerous condition exists that would have been discovered as a result of a reasonable inspection, then the property owner/occupier is required by the law to fix it or to warn users of the property of its existence. If the owner doesn’t, and a guest on the property is injured, then that may give the injured person the opportunity to obtain compensation through a premises liability lawsuit. To learn more about this and other legal options possibly available to you, make certain you to contact a knowledgeable California injury attorney.

While many premises liability cases are slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents, those are not the only varieties. For example, take the case of C.S. The facts that led to C.S.’s lawsuit sound like something that might come from a Hollywood horror movie. C.S. was out on a Napa County golf course in June 2013, taking a lesson from one of the club’s instructors. The golfer was preparing for a shot on the fifth hole when a swarm of yellow jackets attacked her. The instructor tried to swat the insects away, to no avail. The pair ran the length of one and one-half football fields before the yellow jackets stopped chasing and attacking. All told, the golfer got stung in excess of 50 times.

C.S. was transported to a nearby fire station. On the way, she began losing consciousness. Paramedics met her outside and gave her a shot. One paramedic declared that C.S. had been “within fifteen seconds” of dying. She spent the night in a hospital ICU and missed five weeks of work.

The day after the accident, a pest control worker found the nest near the edge of a sand trap. Eventually, the golfer sued the club for premises liability. The golfer argued that the golf club had a legal duty to provide safety on the course and, by failing to eradicate the yellow jackets, the club failed to live up to its obligation. The club argued the opposite – that the law imposed on it no such obligation to protect golfers from “an attack by a wild swarm of insects” when the club had no prior knowledge of the dangerous insects’ presence on the course.

The Court of Appeal issued a ruling declaring that the golfer was correct. The question that decided the case was whether the law’s requirements extended to requiring a golf club to protect course users from yellow jacket nests. The trial judge had said that there’s no duty in a situation where the property owner/occupier didn’t know about the hazard (as this golf club did not).

The appeals court explained that the law’s actual standard is more favorable to injured people. In the past, the courts have ruled that property owners/occupiers can’t be liable if the injured person was harmed by a stray insect, but those cases were different than C.S’s, as the golfer’s injuries did not come from a stray yellow jacket but by a swarm that had nested on the course. California premises liability law requires property owners/occupiers to inspect their properties and remedy “discrete conditions” on their properties, which includes things like yellow jacket nests.

While you (hopefully) will not encounter an attack by a swarm of stinging insects that nearly kills you, there are many ways that you can be harmed while on someone else’s property. When that happens, you need legal advice upon which you can rely. The skilled San Mateo personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos have been helping injured people for a long time in obtaining the compensation they deserve. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

California Appeals Court Revives a Shopper’s Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit Against a Supermarket, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, Published October 12, 2018

Proving Legal Duty and Foreseeability in Order to Achieve Success in Your California Premises Liability Case, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, Published September 28, 2018