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Can you sue over injuries in a 'haunted house'?

Halloween is almost here, and October is well known for an abundance of spooky attractions everywhere you go. Haunted houses, haunted hayrides and haunted mazes are just some of the most popular.

What happens, however, when things go too far and someone gets seriously injured? Is it just "bad luck" for the victim, or can you actually hold the owners of such places liable for the injuries?

It depends. Every situation is unique, so you should speak to an attorney to discuss the specifics of your case if you're in this kind of situation. Here are some of the things that could influence the answer:

How did the accident happen?

When you voluntarily engage in certain kinds of activities that have some inherent risk, it's assumed that you willingly shoulder those risks for yourself. For example, if someone has a bad heart, they probably can't blame their heart attack on the scary events they experience in a haunted attraction because they should have anticipated them.

On the other hand, if the danger wasn't expected, you may have a case. For example, if you are forced to go down a hallway or staircase with bad lighting and no safety measures and you fall, that may entitle you to make a claim.

Was there any kind of release of liability?

Lots of places require attendees to release the property owner, vendor or promoter from liability if there's an accident -- but many of those releases are generic formula statements that are printed on the back of a ticket.

They may not be valid. Releases that are overly vague, too broad or unfair can be beaten in court.

Halloween is fun for a lot of reasons -- but exercise caution when you decide to attend any kind of "haunted" attraction. Serious -- even fatal -- injuries are possible

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