I recently heard a radio talk show discussion about the responsibility a person has for hitting a golf ball on a golf course. The issue was whether the hitter should be responsible for the injuries caused by the ball hitting another golfer (loss of sight in one eye).
Of course the discussion was all over the map. People talked about liability being dependent upon how far away the injured person was from the hitter, whether the hitter knew the person was there, and the accepted risk taken when a person plays a sport such as golf.
The tendency seemed to be that the hitter should bear no responsibility for the injured person’s blindness unless strict circumstances existed. For example, if the golfer was intentionally trying to hit the other person, then liability would exist.
The purpose of this posting is not to offer an opinion as to how responsibility should be attributed in the situation. Rather, it is to point out the hypocrisy of an alternative viewpoint.
It seems to be a well-established belief among golfers and residents on golf courses, that if the golfer hits a ball into a resident’s house and breaks a window, then the golfer is responsible for the repair. (Again, I’m not commenting on the legal basis for such a claim. I’m simply attempting to highlight a common viewpoint.)
This belief about a golfer’s responsibility for a broken window seems to be without exception – that is, it doesn’t matter if the golfer saw the window or how close the window was to the golfer when he hit the ball.
The hypocrisy is that when we are talking about damages to an inanimate window, liability seems clear. When we talk about injuries to other human beings, well that’s a much different story – liability should be at least questioned and probably disputed.
This seems backwards.