Many cases involving sports related injuries are rejected or dismissed due to the assumption of risk doctrine. Once you choose to participate in any recreational activity you are usually thought to have consented to quietly accept any injuries arising out of that activity. As for golfers, the Court of Appeals has held that the possibility of a mishit or wild shot is an inherent risk of the game that is not actionable. But there are many exceptions and the following case illustrates that point.
Last month a New York appellate court refused to dismiss the claim of a golfer who was struck in the head by another golfer in the foursome behind him. This case did "not involve a shanked, sliced, hooked, or mishit shot." Rather, the defendant golfer was a high level player who hit his golf ball perfectly down a center line more than 300 yards. While the defendant claimed he typically hit golf balls 250-260 yards with his driver, he professed surprise at how far the ball sailed before it struck one of the golfers in the group ahead. The Court will allow a jury to decide whether the defendant "unreasonably increased the risk of striking plaintiff..., who was visible in the fairway on the same hole, and was still positioned well within the typical range of defendant's drive." Krych v Bredenberg, 2019 WL 1968072