Haunted House Liability

You know it’s fall when the leaves are turning orange and there is a hint of pumpkin spice in the air. With the change of the season comes spooky Halloween, along with trips to a haunted house. A haunted house is supposed to be scary, but needs to uphold certain safety measures to operate legally. Here’s what you need to know about the safety requirements for haunted houses in Indiana, and about signing waivers to be spooked.

What Do Haunted House Waivers Typically Mean?

Sometimes, a professional haunted house will ask you to sign a waiver before entering. By getting you to sign the waiver, the haunted house operators limit your ability to sue them if you get injured inside. For example, say a patron wanders away from the designated “fright” area, and into an employee breakroom. If they injure themselves, they still can’t sue the haunted house even if it is responsible for causing the injuries outside the scare zone.

If you are injured at a haunted house because you were scared, the waiver may release them from liability, but it’s still best to document your experiences and the employee responses. Since the point of a haunted house is to be frightened, the question of if and when a line was crossed into negligence differs in every situation.

What the Actors Can and Can’t Do

Every haunted house sets its own policy regarding whether the actors involved in the attraction can touch patrons or not. When you buy a ticket to a haunted house, you are essentially agreeing to their terms. There may be a warning before you enter the premises, but this isn’t legally required. However, if an actor injures you or touches you in a way you consider sexually inappropriate, the haunted attraction could be held responsible for the actor’s conduct. It’s because of these risks many haunted houses go by the standard “no touching” practice.

Permits and Inspection

In Indiana, haunted houses are required to have the proper permit as well as submit to inspection. There are building requirements that haunted houses must pass such as

  • If an attraction has a maze feature it must have a visible exit every fifty feet and it must not include dead end hallways.
  • Building codes restrict haunted houses from having open flames and temporary heaters.
  • Group sizes may be no greater than 20.
  • Each group is accompanied by a staff member who has a working flashlight.
  • The building must contain fire extinguishers that are no more than 75 feet apart.
  • In most cases, the building must also contain an automatic sprinkler system.

Every professional haunted house must strictly adhere to these rules. If you notice these rules aren’t taken seriously, it’s best to proceed to the nearest exit.

If you or a loved one are injured at a haunted house due to negligence, the Indianapolis personal injury attorneys at Cline Farrell Christie & Lee want to help you get what you need to move forward in life with peace of mind. From listening to your story to fighting for you in court, we’re your advocates. Contact us today for a free consultation.