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Pennsylvania Golfers Beware: Golf at Own Risk

August 24, 2009

Bad news for the casual (and especially the below average) golfer: Pennsylvania courts may find you liable for negligence due to errant shots.

In reviewing a Philadelphia County case, the Supreme Court vacated a summary judgment ruling by the Court of Common Pleas and found that under the circumstances, an injured golfer could establish that his playing partner breached a duty of care in hitting a shot that ended up striking him in the face.   Granted, the facts in that case seemed more negligent than the typical case: the injured golfer had driven up to see if the area was clear to tee off, he never signaled that it was and his partner teed off and hit a “duck hook” shot.   The plaintiff’s attorney also believed that the decision is another step towards eliminating the so-called “assumption of risk” defense.

So, essentially, it all boils down to circumstances, such as how you’re playing, whether there was communication that you were about to swing, etc.  The best rule is probably to play it safe and ensure that people are not in front of you when you are about to slice your ball.

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