August 2017

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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www.spor 16 // August 2017 to conform to the required standard of conduct, the defendant's negligent con- duct was the cause of the harm to the plaintiff, and the plaintiff was, in fact, harmed or damaged. What separates a "common acci- dent" from an "act of negligence" is the standard of care. By neglecting the proper standard of care for a given sit- uation, an individual may be found lia- ble for any resulting injuries. You can be found negligent if a "dangerous condi- tion" existed, caused the incident, you had "notice," and your actions or inac- tions violated the standard of care. Reasonable person The so-called "reasonable person" in the law of negligence focuses on how a typical person, with ordinary prudence, would act in certain circumstances. The test as to whether a person has acted as a "reasonable person" is an objective one, and so it does not take into account the specifi c abilities of a defendant. Thus, even a person who has low intelligence or is chronically careless is held to the same standard as a more careful person or a person of higher intelligence. A jury generally decides whether a defendant has acted as a reasonable person would have acted. In making this decision, the jury generally considers the defendant's con- duct in light of what the defendant actually knows, has experienced, or has perceived. Proof of negligence In a negligence suit, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the defen- dant did not act as a reasonable person would have acted under the circum- stances. The court will instruct the jury as to the standard of conduct required of the defendant. For example, a defendant sued for neg- ligent driving is judged according to how a reasonable person would have driven in the same circumstances. A plaintiff has a variety of means of proving that a defendant did not act as a reasonable person would have acted. The plaintiff can show that the defen- dant violated a statute designed to pro- tect against the type of injury that oc- curred to the plaintiff or a plaintiff might introduce expert witnesses to provide evidence of a customary practice. If you don't want to get sued, here are some basic industry expectations: Establish standard operating procedures. Inspect the premise regularly and keep maintenance records customary for the site or sport. Repair defects immediately or pre-vent exposure to users, participants or specta- tors until the premise is made safe. Keep users, participants or spectators safe during the use of the premises by having a plan for reasonable supervision and security. Use reasonable employee recruiting, se- lection, hiring and training practices. Have a written emergency and medical plan Practice the plan Risk management is the process of identifying and minimizing elements that could cause injury or harm to users, par- ticipants or spectators. Four elements of risk management include: Identifi cation with regular inspections Evaluation by prioritizing based on sever- ity and frequency Treatment by stopping the activity, reducing the risk, transferring liability through contract (hold harmless clauses), and assuming the risk is worth the liabil- ity exposure Implementation—once a treatment is im- plemented, reevaluate to ensure it was the correct option You can be subject to a lawsuit for negli- gence if a dangerous condition exists, is the cause of an injury, and you had notice and violated the standard of care. Inspect your facility as if you will be a participant, parent, or spectator. /ST/ Scott Bills, CSFM, is owner of Sports Field Solutions, LLC, Frenchtown, NJ. 1-800-363-8780 • • VC60 VERTI-CUTTER The VC60 is designed for use on golf course fairways, tees and all types of sports fields. Unique swing hitch allows operator to turn while using. New "optional " double roller gauge system is now available, which allows for 1.5" spacing. Skid shoes are still available.

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