How safe are haunted houses?
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The goal is to scare its visitors, but not to the point they get hurt.
But that’s not always the case.
“Maybe you’ve been to a haunted house and someone had a chainsaw and it doesn’t have a chain on it, but they’ll have the chainsaw out trying to scare you,” said attorney Ken Riley. “We’ve had situations where people have gotten tired and maybe grazed somebody and caused some harm to them. I even had a case where someone popped somebody’s Achilles tendon.”
Riley said someone could be forced to pay for the injury.
"When people have things like chainsaws and other props, those types of things can actually cause harm and that’s not something a waiver will cover and protect the haunted house operator,” he explained.
But in other cases, Riley said the operator could be covered.
"When you sign a waiver, you sign for things like, if I go in to a haunted house and I have a heart attack because I get scared. Well, you know what, they’re supposed to scare you at a haunted house, so they won’t be responsible for scaring you so bad that you have a heart attack,” Riley said.
A case in east Alabama this week has us taking a closer look at this very issue. A father said his daughter was injured when she ran into a rope and got "clotheslined,” while on a haunted trail. At the time, he said she was running from an actor holding a chainsaw.
Dan Hopkins runs the attraction and said the ropes were waist high - and said she could have only hit the rope if she was running and ducked.
“Our biggest complaint is that it’s dark and it’s scary,” said Hopkins. “If you don’t want to do that, you know, I don’t know what else we could do other than hold somebody’s hand and walk them through.”
Riley reminds customers to be mindful when people in haunted houses or their props get too close. For haunted house operators, he said make sure your workers are properly trained.
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