Can the participants of a sports event be held liable for the damage by negligent acts which they commit during the event?

  • Gintarė Bukartaitė
Keywords: Sports law, civil liability, negligence, duty of care, risk acceptance.


This article analyses the institute of negligence in sports law and its substantiality when dealing with a question of civil liability. The problem of this article is that negligence is common and important type of tort in sports, yet there is not enough discussion of the civil liability question when the damage caused to a sport participant is committed by negligent acts by another sport participant. This means that there are no explicit guidelines of how this question should be solved according to civil law. That was discovered by analyzing various sources of sports law literature.

Analyzing the problem of this article it is important to emphasize these findings. First, to understand the institute of negligence in sports law – duty of care, standard of care and risks acceptance are fundamental and integral elements to be considered and analyzed. Second, it is necessary to have in mind that all sports participants own duty of care to each other, yet when the damage is done negligently – standard of care of a perpetrator needs to be considered as well as awareness and acceptance of risks of potential harm of an injured sport participant. Therefore, it is a necessity to discuss relevant circumstances, the conduct of these sport participants and compliance with the rules of a sport. Third, in a perspective of a various sport participants it is important that the degree of duty of care owned to different groups of sport participants usually differ and therefore the threshold of risks may differ too. Fourth, considering if a sport participant can be held liable for his negligence and caused harm, accordingly to different law systems, but vicarious liability question usually needs to be discussed as well. Fifth, comparison of sports legal literature and analysis of cases in different law systems show that the main aspects and elements considering liability question are alike.

The drawn conclusion is that the participants of a sports event can be held liable for the damage by negligent acts that they commit during the event. Though, to understand and explicate this question it is extremely important to consider and analyze these legal aspects:

  1. Negligence;
  2. Existence and breach of duty of care;
  3. Damage;
  4. Foreseeability of harm;
  5. Correlation;
  6. Awareness and acceptance of risks;
  7. Sport’s rules and its safety rules;
  8. International or national law relevance considering civil liability;

Other significant circumstances.


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How to Cite
Bukartaitė, G. (2019). Can the participants of a sports event be held liable for the damage by negligent acts which they commit during the event?. Law Review, 1(19), 23-44.