For many people, Halloween is the season for spooky fun, and haunted house attractions are ready to accommodate them. Most of the time these entures provide the thrills patrons crave without incident … but not always. In some cases, however, liability issues can get dicey.
By its very nature, a haunted house is intended to be scary, with dim or disorienting lighting, blind corners, and “creatures” and objects jumping out at patrons. Patrons know what to expect and assume the risk that entails, a legal theory known as the “assumption of risk.” Haunted house owners/operators are generally not responsible for a patron’s reaction to being frightened — for instance, fainting, falling backwards, or tripping over their own two feet while scrambling away. Efforts to recover compensation for injuries often prove fruitless.
Premises Liability & Haunted Houses
However, owners/operators must still make a reasonable effort to maintain safe premises for guests and can be held liable for injuries when failing to do so. That starts with adherence to state and local safety and fire-code regulations, and acquisition of proper permits.
Common injuries sustained at haunted houses include slip, trip, and fall injuries. A raised electric cord extended across a hallway or a wet spot on the floor can prove hazardous. Props that are not firmly attached to walls and ceilings sometimes fall on guests, causing serious injuries. Animatronics occasionally go haywire, too.
Fog and smoke machines produce carbon monoxide (CO). If ventilation is poor, CO can accumulate and poison guests. Too many patrons in one location can spark unnecessary chaos, and an actor who grabs and injures a guest can render the owner/operator liable.
Contact a Premises Liability Attorney
If you or a loved one is injured at a haunted house attraction, please contact our office at 404-474-0804 or fill out a contact form here to explore your options.