• Haunted House Premises Liability Law

    As October approaches, food and beverages are becoming pumpkin spiced and the season of Halloween is beginning. However, there are some inherent dangers associated with the fear-based holiday and not just cardiac arrest from horror movies. A haunted house can be a fun time for the entire family, but the laws around premises liability are historically not in favor of the plaintiff. In some cases, people have gone through a haunted house only to end up in a panic attack or, in the worst-case scenario, having a heart attack.

    When this happens, the injuries sustained were not the responsibility of the owners and operators of the haunted houses. In Louisiana, there were five claims filed against separate haunted houses and on separate occasions. In all five cases, the courts ruled in favor of the haunted house owners. The ruling was that the attractions couldn’t be held liable for the injuries that visitors sustained because the plaintiffs had paid to be scared and startled. The operators had no way of knowing there would be an adverse reaction and were simply doing their job.

    Assumption of Risk

    Legally speaking, there is such a thing as “assumption of the risk.” In layman’s terms, this means when you engage in activity where the risk is obvious, such as having a panic attack when startled in a haunted house, you have accepted the potential consequences. This includes the injuries that could result when someone jumps out at a haunted house. In a few cases, a costumed person jumped out at a person, leading to them falling back and resulting in injury. The risk of a potential medical emergency is inherent by paying to go into such an attraction.

    The standard of care of an operator at a haunted house should be expressed for the welfare of an entire visiting group. However, there is no duty of care owed for individual reactions that are unforeseeable. This also covers when patrons are pushed into one another, as there is an assumed risk of being knocked around in the group as patrons are startled and scared by the attraction. In fact, the responsibility of your own safety lays on the visitor as the ticket into a haunted house directly implies there will be a physicality to the attraction.

    If you were at a haunted house and feel the welfare of the group was compromised by the lack of care by the operator and not just your own individual safety, you may have a case. Contact our firm today and we’ll review the details of the incident.

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