Haunted houses are supposed to be scary. You want to jump. You want to scream. You want to be nervous about turning the next corner.
What do you not want?
To get hurt.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to a Michigan woman in 2014. She visited the haunted house as a patron, and a moving wall caused her to slip and fall, resulting in multiple bone fractures. She alleged that low lighting led to her fall.
The haunted house printed a disclaimer and release on the ticket and posts warning signs at the entrance, but it was not enough, and they recently agreed to a settlement of $125,000.
If you are harmed due to negligence at a haunted house this Halloween, you may be able to file an injury claim just as she did – even if you sign a waiver.
In this post, we’re going to offer some tips on how to stay safe if you visit a haunted house this Halloween, then explain what you need to know about premises liability claims in general and how you can fight for compensation.
Florida Haunted House Safety Tips
To prevent injury when you head to a haunted house, it’s important to follow these safety tips. While you can’t prevent every accident, doing so will give you the best chance at having a good time without getting hurt.
Wear shoes that fit well. Oversized shoes are a recipe for a fall. Choose shoes with good traction to prevent slip and fall accidents.
Take it slow. Haunted houses are typically designed to be dark and confusing and have plenty of twists and turns. Rushing through makes you more likely to trip and fall. If allowed, take a flashlight along or use glow sticks to illuminate your path.
Watch for edges. Chances are, you’re going to jump a couple of times as unexpected scares pop out. To the best of your ability, scope out each area and try to aim those jumps to avoid any potentially dangerous corners or edges that could cause harm.
These tips will help keep you safer, but they are still not a guarantee. If you are injured, it’s wise to consult with a Florida personal injury attorney to know if you have a case.
Filing a Premises Liability Claim in Florida
If someone else’s negligence caused you to get hurt, you may be able to receive compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other expenses related to your accident.
A premises liability case can hold the property owner responsible for your injuries. To win, however, you must be able to prove four elements:
Duty—The property owner owed you a duty of care. In the example above, the haunted house owed the woman a duty to provide a reasonably safe environment as a paying customer.
Breach of Duty—The property owner failed to provide a reasonable standard of care. The haunted house failed to provide adequate lighting, making it an unsafe experience.
Causation—The property owner’s breach of duty caused injury to you. The inadequate lighting caused the woman to not see where she was stepping, which put her in a place to be knocked down by the moving wall. When the wall hit her, she fell and sustained multiple injuries.
Damages—You incurred financial expenses related to your injury, for which the property owner can be held liable. The woman received medical care for her bone fractures, which obviously cost her money.
In short, not only can you sue if you’re injured going through a haunted house, there’s a decent chance that you will win. Because these types of places tend to be constructed quickly and with far more attention put into scaring people than keeping them safe.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for the South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.