Halloween season is among us. With that, there are many haunted houses that are open, and thousands of people will make their way through them.
Haunted houses can be a fun way to spend an evening, but what happens if you're injured while in a haunted house? Who's liable?
Do you have a right to bring a claim?
There are many different variables involved here. Let’s explore the law in Arizona.
First, whenever you are injured on another’s property as a result of a condition on the property, it is called “premises liability”.
When you buy a ticket for a haunted house and enter, you are considered a “business invitee”. An invitee is entitled to expect that an owner will use reasonable care to make the place safe for his/her use.
A landowner is required to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition and has a duty to protect invitees from conditions that can result in injury.
While a landowner generally has a lesser duty to protect invitees from “open and obvious” dangers, a landowner owner may still owe a duty to protect an invitee if the risk of harm remains unreasonable.
Further, a landowner must take steps to determine the actual condition of the land in advance, looking for any dangers that might exist, and which he foresees that might not be discoverable to the average person.
If a dangerous condition exists, the owner has three obligations:
1) Fix the condition so it is not dangerous, 2) safeguard the condition in some way to protect his customer or 3) warn the customer of the danger.
Keep in mind, Arizona law makes it clear that a landowner is not a ‘guarantor” of safety. An invitee is not protected against all hazards, nor relieved of all duty to care for his/her own safety.
Certainly, in a haunted house, you assume some risk of harm, and under Arizona law, an owner may not be liable for minor imperfections which are commonly encountered in haunted houses.
An owner’s duty to keep premises safe for invitees generally applies to defects or conditions which are in the nature of hidden dangers, traps, snares or pitfalls that are not known to an invitee, and would not be observed by him/her in the exercise of ordinary care.
Halloween is a great time of the year and haunted houses seem more popular every year.
As long as you understanding what you are doing and the risks that accompany a haunted house, you will likely be just fine.
It is the unexpected that makes it fun, but “unexpected” should not concern a danger that the owner knows of and should fix, safeguard or warn you about.
Happy Halloween Everyone!