A golfer hit an errant shot that broke a window in my home, who is responsible for the damage?

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A golfer hit an errant shot that broke a window in my home, who is responsible for the damage?

Is it the golfer or perhaps the golf course itself since the player was an invitee? The glass will cost north of $900 to replace; my homeowner’s policy has a $1,000 deductible.

Asked on May 5, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, a golfer is not liable for the damage caused by an "errant" golf ball so long as they were exercising "reasonable care". In other words, as long as the golfer wasn't purposely aiming at the house intentionally, then they are not responsible for a ball which is inaccurately hit. Basically, by living near a golf course, a homeowner assumes the risk of such an accident. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unless you can show the golfer was deliberately doing something wrong (e.g. trying to hit your or another person's house) or being unreasonably careless (doing something no reasonable golfer would do while playing), you are responsible for the damage. Golf is a legal activity when performed in the appropriate place (e.g. a golf course); golfers and the golf course are only liable for damage if they were at fault, which means being unreasonably careless or acting in a deliberately wrongful fashion. The law does not give you compensation any time someone else damages your property--only when they are in the wrong in doing so. But simply playing golf on a golf course does make the golfer or course in the wrong.


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