Haunted houses are an appealing attraction for Halloween, but a legal nightmare for owners and attorneys. Each year, owners of these haunted houses must outdo themselves, which can mean ignoring safety codes to bring in more money and beat the competition. Most haunted houses are harmless, regardless of how fearful their attraction might be. However, when you are injured at a haunted house due to some form of negligence, collecting compensation is not as straightforward as a typical injury case.
Most Common Cause of Injuries at Haunted Houses
Each year emergency rooms see patrons of haunted houses who have been injured. There are a variety of reasons for the injuries, including owner negligence. Some typical causes of these haunted house injuries include:
- Slip and Fall – Slip, trip, and fall injuries are the most prevalent type seen in haunted houses. Whether a person falls because of poor lighting, or the haunted house has multiple tripping hazards, these injuries can be tragic. Injuries can range from a sprained ankle to torn ligaments – all the way up to traumatic brain injury.
- Scares – Being frightened is the reason you visit a haunted house, but sometimes these companies take their scare tactics too far. They can spook guests down stairwells, force guests to run and trample others, or employees of the haunted house can accidentally injure a patron just by grabbing at them too hard.
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – To create the illusion of fog and smoke, haunted houses must use chemicals. These chemicals require that the rooms are well-ventilated to avoid carbon monoxide build-up from poisoning those breathing the air inside of the room. When they fail to do so, patrons can suffer from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning, including vomiting, headaches, and death.
- Objects Falling on Visitors – Props that are not secured to walls or ceilings can fall onto visitors and cause severe harm, especially if the prop is heavy and lands on a visitor’s head.
The Assumption of Risk and the Haunted House
Sadly, the reason haunted house claims are so difficult to win is the legal theory known as the assumption of risk. You enter a haunted house, willingly – for the purpose of being scared. You know that people jump out at you, the lights are dim, and that you or someone else in the house could run away scared. Despite the risks, you enter voluntarily. Therefore, you have legally assumed the risk of the activity. In many cases, haunted houses escape liability by using this defense – and victims are helpless to retrieve compensation.
Injured in a Haunted House? You Might Still Have a Case
While the issue of premise liability and assumption of risk complicate these cases, do not just assume you cannot seek compensation for injuries sustained in a haunted house. Haunted house owners are still required to provide a safe premise, and they cannot be grossly negligent. Therefore, after your injury, speak with an attorney from Jacobs Law, LLC. Our team will review the facts of your case, look for citations issued to that haunted house, and see if the haunted house has a history of injuries. When owners are consistently negligent or fail to provide a safe premise, they can be held accountable for injuries they cause. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today with an attorney from Jacobs Law, LLC by calling our offices or by connecting with a representative online.