Austria: visit of traditional Krampus event at own risk

At traditional Krampus events in Austria (Krampus = Santa’s devilish helper, the guy that punishes the bad kids on St. Nicholas day) -mainly in the western provinces – the the young men of the villages walk and dance through streets disguised as Krampus wearing birchs scaring and incidentally whipping visitors.Plaintiff who participated in such event as a visitor was hit at her left eye by the stem of a birch dangling from the wrist of a dancing “Krampus”. She sued the organizer of the event for compensation for pain and suffering.Austrian Supreme Court (OGH), however, dismissed the claim: there had been no fault on part of the organizer as the general duty to maintain saftey must not be overdrawn. It would not be reasonable to require the organizer to provide a minder to each of the (250!) Krampusses while it was part of the event that the Krampusses would mingle with the visitors and have fun scaring them. The risk had been forseeable for plaintiff as visitors usually participate to enjoy the thrill of playing the ‘victims’ of the Krampus. As the Krampus did not deliberately injure plaintiff but the accident happend as a consequence of his dancing moves it would have been up to herself to care for her safety.Supreme Court decision 10 Ob 15/08s of 17.03.2009 available in German here>>.

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