Jun 17, 2019

Golfer struck in the head by another golfer’s drive files injury lawsuit.

For some New Yorkers, the onset of summer weather means a return to favorite sporting activities, especially golf.  Under New York law, persons who participate in sports and recreational activities assume the risk of getting hurt while doing so.  But there is an exception to that rule which recently worked to the benefit of a golfer in Buffalo.

In the case Krych v. Bredenberg, decided on May 3, 2019, the Appellate Division of New York Supreme Court, Fourth Department (based in Rochester), agreed with a lower court ruling that refused to dismiss the personal injury lawsuit of a man who claimed he was struck in the head by another golfer’s drive (from the tee box) as the injured golfer tried to find cover behind his golf cart (after someone yelled the traditional golf warning “fore!”).  The defendant golfer, who testified that his typical drive travelled 250-260 yards, claimed the plaintiff was 300 or more yards away from the tee box and was therefore not at risk of being struck by the ball. 

The appellate court said that while “the possibility that the ball will fly off in another direction is a risk inherent in the game”, the drive hit by the defendant was not “shanked, sliced, hooked or mishit”.  In fact, the defendant golfer “had an unobstructed view from the elevated tee box of the plaintiff’s” golfing party and hit his drive “straight down the center”.  Because the plaintiff did not assume the risk of an injury happening under those kind of circumstances, the defendant’s motion to dismiss the case was denied.