By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Had the ball travelled straight, the powerful swing by the 13-year-old in his last fall ball game of the season in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, would probably have been a grand slam. Instead, it curved foul just behind the fence at the third baseline and smashed the back windshield of the car parked on the other side. Disappointing on so many levels, mostly to the parent whose car was smashed. And to the parents of the kid whose ball went foul who then worried if they would be legally responsible to pay for the windshield.
Good news for those parents and bad news for the car owner. You can’t just sue because damage happens. In order to win money, the car owner would have to show that someone else behaved negligently or recklessly. Hitting the ball hard is not negligent. So the kid and his parents are not responsible for what was an accident.
There’s another reason why the car owner couldn’t sue. If you do something like park a car despite the fact that there’s an obvious risk to your behavior, like an errant ball, the law says you’ve assumed the risk of injury and can’t sue for it. It doesn’t hurt to contact the league, which might have an insurance policy for such an eventuality, but in general, if you know the risks, you should be a good sport about it because you can’t cry foul over the foul.