Visitor Question

What are the rules for a “fair fight”?

Submitted By: Anonymous (USA)

My brother and I were playing in a soccer game when my 18 year old brother committed a foul (unintentional). Then this guy who looked to be in his late 20’s confronted him as if he was looking for a fight. So then I came up to him and asked him what his deal was, and as soon as I confronted him he grabbed me to try and take me down to the ground.

I grabbed him back and flipped him on his back. When he was on the ground I jumped on him and we exchanged punches, him ending up a lot worst than I did. After the fight he went to the hospital and had a doctor take care of his injuries.

Now the league rep is asking that I pay for his doctor’s bill. Am I liable for this medical bill since the other guy grabbed me first? If so I would be willing to pay for it. What are the rules for a “fair fight”? Thanks for any info you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Anonymous,

Unfortunately the law doesn’t cover “Fair Fights”, although there may be league rules covering fisticuffs or altercations during league soccer games. That is, unless the pugilistic engagement in and of itself was of a criminal nature. If so one or both parties may be charged with criminal assault.

If the league representative wants you to pay the medical bills you don’t have to listen to her. You can tell the representative you refuse to pay. By doing so you aren’t committing any crime or legal infraction.

In the alternative, if the league rules address fighting during league games, and those rules afford either the referee or league representative discretion to order a player to pay for injuries the referee or representative believe the player is responsible for, the player may run into a problem. That problem may be suspension or termination from playing for a certain period of time.

If you are willing to take that chance, then you should be ready to accept the consequences.

In the alternative, if the league rules don’t address a player’s liability for injuries resulting from fisticuffs, then you may be in a strong position to refuse to pay.

Finally, if the person you injured decides to pursue you for his injuries you may find yourself at the wrong end of a lawsuit. If his injuries and medical bills aren’t substantial you may find yourself in Small Claims Court. That doesn’t necessarily mean you were wrong, or that you will lose the case. It just means the injured party can take legal action if he chooses to.

If he does, you can always file a counter-claim against him in Small Clams Court as well.

Learn more here: Claims for Physical Fight Injuries

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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