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Another Golf Ball hit through a window- Who is liable? Lots of specifics


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#1 mattsam

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 11:01 AM

This is my first experience but I want to get some official ruling in the public court of WRX

Read all the points and tell me what you think.  I have only a $250 deductible so its no big loss.

Major Points- House in Michigan
Public Golf course (high end)
My house was built AFTER the course construction
My house is NOT part of the golf course establishment (most are)
I'm on a small dog leg with my house being the first house the golfers see.  
Yes, its conceivable that the house could get hit, BUT not in the course of a normal shot.  The ball would need to be out of bounds and staying out of bounds.  No way will it get to a playable area.

Now the negligence:  the golfer in question was taking a lesson from the assistant Pro on the course.  He hit three balls off the tee box
First two went into the course, but in the woods/rough around my house and in an unplayable area.
The third hit my window.

I'm saying its negligence that the golfer took 3 shots on that tee box while at least one ball was in play.  
Oh to add, the assistant pro and the golfer left the scene.  Oh and to add I have video of all corners of my house (not the tee box) where I will be able to show the ball hitting the window, but no proof of the golfer in question.  
I'm taking out that the golfer will not admit, I'm assuming he will.  

Thanks
Matt

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#2 One_Putt_Blunder

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 11:59 PM

Not a lawyer nor do I pretend to be but I do know insurance and have paid attention to case law coming from liability claims. Unless you can prove the player intentionally hit at your house the golfer is not liable. You carry an assumption of risk living on a golf course. There may be some differences from state to state but the overwhelming majority of cases have favored to the side of the golfer as not liable even if he admits he is the one that hit your window on accident. If he says he was intentionally aiming at your house different story

Here is a decent summary written by an Attorney.
https://www.cmaa.org...e.aspx?id=37197


Being in the insurance industry I would advise you to consider the actual cost to replace and weigh it with filling a claim. Speak to your agent first to ask about the impact to your policy before contacting claims. Most likely this would be a surchargeable claim and could impact your policy causing you not only the additional premium of the surcharge for 3 years but the loss of any claim free discount you have. If the window is not very expensive to replace it might be less expensive in the long run to replace it yourself.

Edited by One_Putt_Blunder, 21 July 2015 - 12:03 AM.

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#3 Redbird

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 01:03 PM

Unless he took out a custom window (odd size) or a sliding glass door, a single pane of Low E glass is going to be less than your deductible.  If he took out both panes, it might be a $100 or so more but still not worth the claim.

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#4 mattsam

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 02:05 PM

View PostRedbird, on 23 July 2015 - 01:03 PM, said:

Unless he took out a custom window (odd size) or a sliding glass door, a single pane of Low E glass is going to be less than your deductible.  If he took out both panes, it might be a $100 or so more but still not worth the claim.

You are probably right, but I know my builder (house is only 8 months old) will charge me an arm and a leg for it.  I'm looking for a guy to come out and repair it.
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#5 pbfoot

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 11:24 AM

THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE, SIMPLY INFORMATION ON THE LAW

Assumption of risk has been abolished in most states.  The test is usually comparative negligence but that likely wouldn't apply here anyway unless a court were to find that it was negligent to not put up some sort of fencing to mitigate the risk, but courts are typically loathe to impose those sort of affirmative duties particularly when it applies to real property.  Unless it would cost you next to nothing and not interfere with your use of property at all.

I have a hard time thinking of a situation where a golfer hitting three tee balls on a golf course, unless he was aiming at your house, is negligent.  Not following the "Rules of Golf" re: an unplayable lie is not going to even come into the discussion.  A reasonably prudent golfer can still hit bad shots, the standard is an objective one-not a subjective one assessing the particular golfer's level of skill.  The duty owed was simply to act reasonably, which would probably include just about everything short of blasting a driver directly at your window from 50yd away.  Because he was hitting off the tee that duty is almost certainly not breached.  Arguably if it was a really abnormally bad shot you would not even be a foreseeable victim and thus the golfer wouldn't even owe you a duty.

I guess there's a chance you could ask for indemnity from the golf course, but typically they would have to have some sort of statutory duty or you would have to have some sort of special relationship with them.  I have a feeling that if your house was built before the course a court might be more likely to find the golf course liable, but I'm not sure what the legal basis for this would be...plus that isn't the case here.

I don't know if, legally, there would be any difference if a golfer were to hit a car in a road siding the course, but I would imagine the assessment would be the same with there potentially being some sort of duty on the golf course itself to put up netting to prevent the known risk.  The reason I don't think that is the case here is because constructing one that would actually protect against golf balls would almost certainly exceed local ordinances, and when it is something that could potentially obstruct the view of adjacent property owners they're never going to get a variance.  Again, I'm not entirely sure about this situation and would tend the think that no one is actually liable and this is just the type of accident for which we have insurance.

Edited by pbfoot, 25 July 2015 - 12:46 PM.

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#6 mattsam

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Posted 27 July 2015 - 06:47 AM

Pbfoot
Thank you for the response.  I agree with everything you are saying.  Yes I have low deductible insurance and the pocket money to cover it outright.  

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#7 EKELLY

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Posted 09 February 2016 - 06:18 PM

I'm not 100% sure, but in Florida, a golfer is deemed "not responsible for an errant shot". You live on a golf course, expect to be pelted. Go figure, I live on the LEFT side of the fairway and get hammered daily......LOL

Edited by EKELLY, 09 February 2016 - 06:19 PM.


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#8 Arizonalefty59

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Posted 20 February 2016 - 11:51 AM

View PostEKELLY, on 09 February 2016 - 06:18 PM, said:

I'm not 100% sure, but in Florida, a golfer is deemed "not responsible for an errant shot". You live on a golf course, expect to be pelted. Go figure, I live on the LEFT side of the fairway and get hammered daily......LOL
That's the way it should be IMO.

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#9 Sun Devil

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Posted 01 March 2016 - 03:39 PM

I look at this two ways.  You did build or buy your house adjacent or near the golf course.  You knew the potential risks.

Buttttt .... the ethical thing to do if I was the golfer that broke your window is to offer to pay the deductible since I inadvertently caused the damage.
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#10 jmar87

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Posted 21 March 2016 - 08:58 AM

Everyone knows the risks of living on a golf course.

All said, if I had broken the window, I would cough up the $$$ to fix it.

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#11 Carp

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 12:08 PM

If I was aiming at a house, it'd be the last thing I hit.

(sorry, couldn't resist) I have always wondered about this topic.
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#12 stevepoz

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 09:22 PM

Another not legal advice post
It might be different if it was his third ball from the tee and the other 2 had taken similar paths, there might be a case of failure to exercise reasonable care.

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#13 new2g0lf

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 10:27 PM

Every state and development is different, contact your home owners association or look through your closing documents to see if you signed a hold harmless waiver for the golf course and golfers.  

I owned a house on a golf course in VA and we were required to sign a document that absolved the course, members and guests of any responsibility for damage done to my house while playing a typical round of golf or practicing.  The only way someone would be held responsible is if I could prove they were intentionally trying to cause damage to my house.

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