Halloween is the one night out of the year when fear is allowed to take physical form. Perhaps the most iconic and anticipated aspect of the holiday is the haunted houses that promise to scare people senseless. Unfortunately, almost every year there's at least one story of someone sustaining some type of injury while visiting a scare factory. The question that many people who are injured while in a haunted house have is whether or not they can sue for compensation for those injuries.

Injuries Based on Fear

People who operate haunted houses have a duty to behave in a way that doesn't result in injury to others. However, haunted houses are unique in that their sole purpose is to inflict mental anguish on those who dare cross their darkened thresholds. In this particular case, a person's ability to recover damages for injuries sustained from visiting a haunted house will depend on the underlying cause of them.

If the injury was sustained as a reaction to fear, then you or the affected person may not be able to collect compensation for the injury. The reasoning behind this is when a person enters a haunted house, they are assuming the risks associated with being startled or surprised by what happens inside. For instance, a 10-year-old girl was frightened when an actor in a haunted house jumped out at her, causing her to run into a wall. The court ruled in the defendant's favor, stating that operators of haunted houses cannot be held responsible if a person reacts to fear in bizarre or unpredictable ways.

Even if the person reacts to the fear by keeling over and having a heart attack, it may be difficult to collect compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, or other losses and damages because the possibility of being scared to death is a risk the individual assumes when he or she enters a haunted house.

Injuries Based on Safety Violations

However, haunted house operators must still ensure their facilities are reasonably safe for people to use. If you were injured because of a safety issue with the haunted house, then you may be awarded compensation for damages.

For instance, the operator hangs a mechanical bat from the ceiling that's supposed to fly over visitors' heads. Instead, the string connecting the bat to the ceiling breaks, causing it to fall on someone. The operator could be held liable for the person's injuries because he or she failed to adequately secure the bat in place.

While Halloween is a holiday designed for good-natured fun, sometimes people get hurt. If you were injured because of something that occurred in a haunted house, contact a personal injury lawyer, like  Herbert E. Maxey Jr., PC, for assistance with putting together a viable case.