An "illegally" bad golf handicap
A golf player hits a hiker with his tee shot resulting in claims against the golfer as well as the owner of the golf course.
Right before the fatal swing the golfer asked his victim-to-be if there are any more hikers on the trail. When the hiker negated the question, the golfer returned to the tee and assumed that the hiker had gone in the meantime. Unfortunately the following swing was a total disaster and directed the ball right into nearby bushes, behind which the hiker was still present. The injured hiker consequently raised damage claims against the golfer and the owner of the golf club.
The court of first instance dismissed the claim. In favour of the club operator, the court decided that the warning signs placed around the golf course were more than enough to fulfil the obligation regarding safety precautions. Regarding the player, the court found that he took all precautions for a safe swing. The failed attempt was to be seen as an "inevitable event".
The court of second instance then flipped the script; finding that the golf player should have checked and not merely speculate about the whereabouts of the hiker. This therefore is to be seen as careless behaviour. Regarding the golf club itself, the warning signs were dismissed as an appropriate way of preventing harm.
The Austrian Supreme Court agreed with the decision of the second instance regarding the golf player. He violated his duty of care. Regarding the golf course operator, the Supreme Court was of a different opinion. "The general rules regarding safety obligations mustn't be overextended", the judge stated. The endangerment of hikers caused by the nature and pace of golf balls is in accordance with the general experience of life.
To prevent such an incident an operator would need to erect barriers around the courses. In the judge's view this would surpass the limit of reason. (l Ob 4/18x)
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