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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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The driver of a car driving on the main public A road adjacent

Resolved Question:

The driver of a car driving on the main public A road adjacent (perhaps 30 metres or so) to the fairway of the sixth tee at my golf club has claimed that a golf ball shattered his windscreen. The sixth hole runs alongside a main road but there are no fences, however there are some trees that give some protection. As far as I know this is the first time in the 27 year history of the course that a car has been hit. Not the first time however that a ball has left the course at this point. It has been ascertained that I was playing the hole around the time of the incident, and I accept that my drive from the tee veered high and right and probably left the course in the direction of the road. I cannot be definite that it hit a car however. I have a handicap of 12, have played golf for 20 years, play the course twice a week and have never hit the ball off the course like this before and did not foresee such a shot.
The driver is claiming he had to spend £700 up front to replace the screen. He wishes to claim the golf course Insurance, which the club say they don't want to have anything to do with because it will put their premium up. The club suggest I might be responsible and should settle with the driver.
Who if anyone is liable - my understanding is that car insurance normally covers windscreen replacement without penalty to the owner. I was on my own at the time. I am loathe to pay £700 for something I cannot be sure I was responsible for or negligent in.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 3 years ago.

Alex Watts : Hello my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.
Alex Watts : Does the driver not have windscreen insurance? Most cars do
Customer:

He has said that he had to get a window replaced as a matter of urgency and it was going to cost £700. I think he might be trying to avoid paying an excess and is hoping to get the cash back from a responsible party.

Customer:

What should happen if (a) he has insurance and (b) his insurance does not cover the windscreen?

Alex Watts : He will have insurance and his insurance will cover this.
Alex Watts : If not you want to see a letter from them confirming he is not covered.
Alex Watts : Without this you should refuse to pay.
Alex Watts : It would then be a matter for his insurance company to chase the responsible party.
Alex Watts : But unless he provides evidence that he is not covered, I would not pay.
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Customer:

Can or should I be held responsible for this? I was basically playing golf on the course, hit an errant shot off a tee close to a road and might or might not have hit his car.

Alex Watts :

Are you - yes

Alex Watts :

Had it not been for you hitting the ball it would not have hiot

Alex Watts :

hit

Alex Watts :

Assuming it did hit of course

Alex Watts :

If it went to Court, the driver would only need to show, on balance, it came from you

Alex Watts :

Not beyond doubt

Customer:

So the club cannot be held in any way responsible given that the tee is positioned beside a road which the player cannot see because of a protection of trees? I seem to remember a case a few years ago at another club where the player was deemed 70% responsible and the club 30% responsible because they had taken no measures to tell players of the dangers and to underline that players played from that tee at their own risk.

Alex Watts :

Potentially you could counter sue, but the fact still remains, you hit the ball. Potentially there is a case against them though, but let his insurance sort that out

Customer:

Is there any likelihood that the driver, who by all accounts sounds like a reasonable person, will claim for any more than his out of pocket expenses e.g. sue for other emotional damages? According to the club, he says he fully understands that golfers may hit the odd bad shot!

Alex Watts :

I can't say - he could try. There is nothing to stop him.

Alex Watts :

But it is possible.

Alex Watts :

From what you said, unlikely, but I can't say 100% he could not

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else?

Customer:

So best scenario would be for club, claimant and me to come to an agreement, keep it low key but ensure that he has insurance in place and for his insurance to take it forward and take it from there?

Alex Watts :

Yes indeed.

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Customer:

Yes thank you.

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