Most people enter a haunted house knowing that it’s all for entertainment and that the chainsaw-wielding employee can’t actually hurt you. That is generally how most haunted house experiences go; however, sometimes the fake scares can turn into serious injuries when accidents or negligence is involved.
There are a variety of injuries that can be acquired in a haunted house, depending on how complex the experience is. There may also be increased legal complexity if you signed a liability waiver.
Slip and fall injuries are the most common forms of injuries hospitals will see from haunted houses. Most haunted houses will unfortunately keep their environments very dark and poorly lit. While it’s understandable that this is a typical technique to make a haunted house spooky, it can create a seriously hazardous environment.
When an employee jumps out and scares a guest, it’s not uncommon that the guest suddenly moves or even takes off running. For those who scare easily, taking off and running out of fright can easily lead to a real injury. As previously mentioned, running down a poorly lit corridor that is filled with props, hidden crevices, and other employees waiting to jump out and scare you, is a surefire recipe for disaster.
In other situations it is also possible to get tripped up on some wires or props that have fallen out of place. Considering the amount of high foot traffic and frantic movements, it is not unreasonable to expect different props or wires to get inadvertently relocated.
Falls can also happen if guests are exploring higher levels and the railings are not properly secured. Guests can also fall from elevated locations if they take off running or move frantically to avoid an employee scaring them.
Another potential cause of injury could be the employees themselves. For the most part, haunted houses are seasonal events and generally attract younger, teenage actors who are not professional “haunters.” These actors can easily get carried away in the moment with the rush of adrenaline and excitement and take things too far. Whether they are wielding a fake chainsaw or chasing a guest, physical contact with props or the actors can lead to injuries in an already dangerous environment.
Lastly, another possible injury can be caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. Many haunted houses utilize fog machines and other chemicals to create a spooky atmosphere. These haunted houses also often lack adequate ventilation. Fume inhalation or carbon monoxide poisoning can be yet another potential injury one may sustain from a haunted house.
When a person enters a haunted house, there is an implied assumption of risk. However, the manager of the haunted house must also provide a significant duty of care to avoid creating hazards and negligent scenarios that could lead to injury.
Liability waivers in Florida are required to have language that is clear and unequivocal in order to be enforceable. In other words, if you were injured and can point to the section or sections in the waiver that were unclear, the claim may move forward. Additionally, if the cause of an injury is not related to the activity in general, the courts may look more favorably upon the injured party regardless of the presence of the liability waiver. There are also other elements that cannot be covered by a liability waiver such as reckless misconduct or intentional torts. A tort is defined as an intentional wrongful act or infringement of a right; for example, an actor becoming angered with a guest and pushing them down a staircase.
If you signed a liability waiver and were injured, it is important to not give up and assume there is no remedy. An experienced personal injury attorney will examine all the facts and circumstances leading up to your injury, and may be able to proceed with a case.
Contact Jordan Law
Whether you were injured in a haunted house, while trick-or-treating, or at a costume party, Jordan Law is standing by and ready to help you navigate your personal injury case. Our attorneys have worked on a variety of injury cases and our experience will be put to good use in order to pursue the most optimal outcome for your case. Contact us today for a consultation.