We go to them to have fun, to get scared, and to get in a festive mood for the Halloween season. Haunted houses can pose hidden dangers, though. Unfortunately, cases of injuries at haunted houses or even fatalities make these venues intended for mischievous merriment horrific in a real way.
If you’re planning on visiting a haunted house this Halloween, keep these factors in mind to keep you and your family safe.
Haunted House Injuries Happen More Often than You May Think
You may have fond memories of haunted houses from your childhood, and you may go every year with your family with no problem, but consider these scary incidents where haunted house operations went awry.
- In 2014, a woman visiting a haunted house in Michigan suffered severe injuries, including multiple fractures, because of a slip and fall caused by a moving wall inside the haunted house. In 2016, she was awarded a lawsuit settlement of $125,000 in a case against the venue.
- A teenage haunted house worker in Missouri slipped through a noose prop and hung suspended for up to 10 minutes, causing a loss of her pulse and a resulting three-day coma and short-term memory loss. An investigation into the haunted house after the accident found violations related to fire extinguishers and wiring. The teen worker sued the haunted house company and some of its employees for negligence.
- Just last month, a 21-year-old visitor to a haunted house in Hong Kong died because of injuries experienced at the venue.
As you can see, the dark environment paired with the blurred lines between what’s acceptably scary and what’s downright dangerous can cause hazards at haunted houses.
Personal injuries experienced at haunted houses can occur because of premises liability, negligence on behalf of employees, faulty machinery and more. Dim lighting and heightened anxiety levels because of the nature of haunted houses can increase accident risks. Beware of:
- Slips and falls: Because many haunted house attractions are dark to increase the spooky facftor, visitors may not notice hazardous cords, flooring or props that can cause harmful tripping.
- Extreme behavior by workers: While it’s often expected that haunted house employees scare their customers, some may take their actions too far. Employees may actually harm a visitor they encounter, or cause a visitor to engage in other dangerous behavior that leads to an injury.
- Dangerous props: Props that aren’t maintained may have hazardous exposed wires, or screws or metal parts that cause cuts and injuries when visitors come into contact with them. Falling objects may also cause bodily harm.
- Threatening gases, chemicals and other materials: Fog machines are common at haunted houses, and they may cause inhalation of gases like carbon monoxide. Dry ice can cause burning when someone touches it.
While haunted houses are required by law to adhere to safety regulations, there is always safety uncertainty visitors face. Other risk factors like crowd trampling or tram malfunctioning can cause serious injury to haunted house visitors.
If you are injured while you are in a haunted house, it is vital that you clearly state that you are injured. Unfortunately, screaming may be interpreted as part of the fun, which can impact the timeliness of help you receive.
As you are helped at the haunted house, pay close attention to the behaviors and actions that take place – how long it takes to get help, what employees say, any props or notable environmental factors you notice, etc. Make sure that you report the incident and your injury to the manager in charge, and ask for a written incident report for your records. Get the medical help that is offered to you, or head to a doctor yourself immediately if it is not offered for some reason.
Document the scene with a smartphone camera if you can, and get contact information of the person who is in charge of the haunted house. If there are witnesses who saw the injury occur, also ask them for their statements on what happened, as well as their contact information. Document injuries, and keep all medical records organized and up-to-date. Details of what happened and documentation are essential components in a possible personal injury case because of a haunted house.
When Hiring an Accident Attorney After a Haunted House Injury Is Wise
At all times during a haunted house operation, the owner and employees are responsible for keeping visitors to a haunted house safe. This includes properly maintaining props and machinery, ensuring employees are trained to not harm patrons, and adequately warning visitors about the risks and dangers they may encounter. In some circumstances, gross negligence in a haunted house may cause injuries to visitors and staff that may be successfully pursued in a lawsuit.
If your insurance claim is denied or you receive a low settlement offer, you may want to contact an accident attorney for help. If you have visited any Arizona haunted house and experienced an injury where you believe negligence is a factor, contact the Millea Law Firm in Phoenix. We’ll help you understand the details of a potential case so you can get the compensation you deserve.