Premises Liability on Halloween

by NPHM | October 28th, 2019

It’s not just the new chill in the air that puts a shiver down our spines in October. The spookiest month of the year is when we like to scare ourselves with trips to haunted houses, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches, but getting injured is the wrong kind of scary. So how can you avoid injuries this year on Halloween, and what should you do if you get hurt?

Assumption of Risk

When it comes to attractions like haunted houses, liability isn’t as cut and dry as it is in a typical injury claim. When you slip and fall on a wet floor in a supermarket because they failed to put up a sign, generally the fault is clear. But when you visit a haunted house, you take on an “assumption of risk.”

Anyone going to a haunted house can reasonably assume it’s going to be scary. So, if you faint, suffer a heart attack, or twist your ankle running away from an actor because you are scared, most juries will agree this is not the fault of the venue because you took on that risk by agreeing to be scared when you purchased your ticket.

However, not all injuries you can get at a haunted house are fear-based injuries. If your injuries are the result of the haunted house operator acting negligently, you can still file a claim against their insurance for your injuries. In most cases, this is true even if you signed a waiver. An experienced personal injury lawyer like those at Nurenberg Paris will be able to provide more information on your specific case.

Haunted House Injuries

Haunted houses are required to adhere to building safety codes, but not all do. When haunted houses aren’t ADA or fire code compliant, fail to warn visitors about potential risks, or expose visitors to risks that don’t fall under those assumed to be found in a haunted house attraction, the operators may be liable for injuries suffered as a result.

Potential haunted house injuries may include:

  • Tripping over props or exposed extension cords
  • Tripping on uneven flooring
  • Falls due to broken or non-existent guardrails
  • Being cut by exposed nails or sharp props
  • Being hit by falling or swinging props
  • Trampling
  • Overaggressive cast members
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning from artificial fog
  • Seizures from strobing lights

Were You Injured at a Haunted House?

When you are injured at a haunted house, their insurance will likely try to argue they are not liable for your medical bills because you took on assumed risk, even when the injury is caused by the venue’s negligence. To increase your chances of getting compensation for an injury at a haunted house, we recommend following these steps:

  1. Take pictures of the accident scene that show the dangerous condition(s).
  2. Request to speak with a manager and ask to file an incident report.
  3. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses, whether employees or other guests.
  4. Seek medical attention and inform the medical staff how you received the injury.
  5. Call the legal team at Nurenberg Paris to get a free case review.

How to Make Your Home Safe for Trick-or-Treaters

Premises liability refers to a property owner’s responsibility to keep their property safe for visitors. That doesn’t only refer to commercial properties like supermarkets and haunted houses, either. It goes for your own house too! Follow these steps to help make your property safe for trick-or-treaters this year and protect yourself from accident claims by making sure they never happen.

  • Check that your homeowner/renters insurance is up to date and includes personal liability coverage.
  • Keep your sidewalk, driveway, porch, and lawn clear of debris and tripping hazards, whether that’s fallen leaves, lawn decorations, potted plants, or garden equipment.
  • Turn on all exterior lights and replace any burnt out bulbs.
  • Firmly secure decorations to ensure they can’t fall over and avoid decorations that move, which may startle a trick-or-treater into falling and injuring themselves.
  • Keep pets indoors and out of reach of trick-or-treaters.
  • Avoid fire hazards by replacing the typical tea candle in your jack-o-lantern with a flameless LED version.

Halloween Activity Safety Tips

No matter how you plan to celebrate this Halloween, please keep these safety tips in mind, whether you are going out with your children or with friends.

  • Wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes with good traction.
  • Avoid using flammable material in your costume.
  • Avoid masks that limit your vision or ability to breathe.
  • Consider including reflective material in your costume to make yourself more visible in the dark.
  • Inspect candy before opening and eating, and throw away any candy if the wrapper appears tampered with.
  • Arrive to all activities sober.
  • Follow all posted safety rules at any attraction you visit.
  • Stay in a group and closely monitor any children in your group.
  • Always follow clearly marked paths and only cross at crosswalks.
  • Be conscious of your own limits and avoid activities that may aggravate a pre-existing medical condition.

From all of us at Nurenberg Paris Injury Lawyers, we wish you a safe and happy Halloween! If you or a loved one suffered injuries while visiting a Halloween attraction, don’t hesitate to call our team today for a free case review.