View Full Version : Is there ANY liability?

Dr. Giggles
06-08-2008, 08:00 PM
Hey guys.
Im thinking about hosting a haunted house at my own house this halloween. Yet the problem is everyone ((at my house)) thinks its a horrible idea because of the liability. Is there really a huge liability at having random strangers walking through my house only to be terrified out of there wits? Hmmm sounds different when worded like that.
See i want to know because last year it was kind of a 10 foot walk through in my garage with my friend in a butchers apron, and a chainsaw, and me with a a black jumpsuit on a mauled up face and a Knife. We had a strobe light going of and a fog machine, we sucessfully scared the....10 people that came in haha. ((Didnt have very good advertising.)) And when i read all these other posts it seems your haunted houses are big houses with big rooms rooms occupied by maby one or sometimes even two actors and they freak em out then they move on to the next room...so is it not as...well scary to have a walk through haunted house, and if it is as scary any tips?:confused:

06-08-2008, 09:30 PM
Is there any huge liability? Unfortunately, yes. Thanks to the lawyers and the leeches who will sue anyone to "get rich quick", anyone can be sued today no matter how stupid. If anyone is on your property for any reason-- even to rob it-- and they get hurt because you created a dangerous situation for them, they can sue you. If they fall down your stairs, they can sue you for "slip and fall", etc. It's stupid, and it costs everyone added fees because we all have to pass on the cost, but until we get serious tort reform (something the media seems hell bent on preventing) we will continue to live under this cloud.

You can buy liability insurance. I suspect your current insurance would not cover injuries from a haunted house event. Or you can risk it and do everything you can to make it safe. I ran a haunted house for friends 15 years back and there were no injuries and no law suits. But if someone gets hurt, then yes, they can sue you and if they are a stranger, they will probaby try to do just that. (Even friends do it.) The personal injury lawyers charge NOTHING unless the collect, so people feel they have nothing to lose and a possible jackpot to gain. If you own the house free and clear, or have other assets, then the lawyer is much more likely to sue.

I'm not saying don't do it, but you do need to be aware of the real risks.

Dr. Giggles
06-09-2008, 04:39 PM
Ahh alright see thats what im afraid of. I asked our insurance company...losers wont cover it. But thats a damn shame that people will go to a haunted house to have fun probably get hurt from their own stupidity then sue the haunted house ruining it for everyone...i mean cant we pass a bill or something saying that if you pay to go into a ride/haunted house you are entering under your own free will and that if you get hurt all parties are not liabel....i think im going to try and pass that bill. Gladly with the initiative act we are allowed to put bills on the ballot if we have enough signatures. So we need EVERYONE here to sign that they agree to the bill:grin:

06-09-2008, 05:45 PM
Anyone can sue you, the guy that reads the ele. meter falls because you left a garden hose out can sue you, even trick-or-treaters coming for candy can sue if they get hurt. Your insurance should cover it even if they say they will not. if your just passing out candy and not charging any thing. You could get insurance just for the event, it does not cost that much.

Dr. Giggles
06-09-2008, 06:16 PM
Wait i can get insurance for jsut the event? Because im not charging?

06-10-2008, 07:58 AM
we have AAA home owners insurance, and i think its just basic coverage,
can i add liability coverage or get better coverage just for the time the even it open, or at the least just for a short time instead of permanently adding it to our plan?

Jim Warfield
06-10-2008, 11:46 AM
A woman was invited to a big league baseball game by her friends, a bat broke, the wood hit her in the face, she almost died and will have plastic sugergy and guess who pays?
Not the pro baseball team! Their ticket says liability is yours as a ticket holder-end of story.
This was in Yahoo news very recently.
The local ski lodges here see numerous injuries and mangled legs when they are real busy, yet that lift ticket you have to have and wear says the liability is yours.
The one ski lodge has been in business for 45? years?
I am not a lawyer, neither is Mr. Tuxedo, Spookhouse cat.

06-10-2008, 01:51 PM
so basically if we give out tickets that say were not liable and have signs and stuff were fine?

Dr. Giggles
06-10-2008, 01:58 PM
Alright so if i hand out a ticket letting them know that if they get hurt in the huanted house its there fault because they are dumb @$$'$ and that i took every precaution anyway im not open to get sued? Sweet!

06-10-2008, 03:36 PM
You can still be sued even if the ticket has a liability clause. The plaintiff just needs to prove negligence on the part of the haunt.

Dr. Giggles
06-10-2008, 03:57 PM
Alright so even if the ticket has a liability clause, and they get hurt its still my fault and i can get sued? What if it was not because of my negligence? What if its because of there own stupidity?

06-10-2008, 04:23 PM
Unfortunately nowadays you can be sued at any time, by anyone, for any reason. If you are sued, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff. They will have to prove that you were liable for their injury. It may be tough to prove, but that does not mean that they won't or can't sue. Even if you have a patron sign a waiver before entering, you can still be sued.

Dr. Giggles
06-10-2008, 04:37 PM
This is horrible! It makes me wonder how ANY haunted house's stay open for any period of time!

06-10-2008, 04:46 PM
Its just part of owning and operating a haunted attraction. You need to make sure you have enough liability insurance to cover any potential award a plaintiff may receive if they win a lawsuit.

Dr. Giggles
06-10-2008, 04:51 PM
But see thats my problem i have a Miniscule budget at best, so i cant really afford insurance....

Jim Warfield
06-11-2008, 08:13 AM
There could have been negligence on the part of the baseball bat maker or the club for alowing a bat made of maple wood, which has a history of violently breaking into such pieces , although why major league ball doesn't just use aluminun bats has always made no sense to me.
Or maybe the simple negligence of not having a protective netting in place, Duh?
Maybe it all comes down to who has the biggest lawyer?

Dr. Giggles
06-11-2008, 05:34 PM
To bad i can only afford lil lawyers...

Jim Warfield
06-12-2008, 01:43 PM
The local dirt track here has everyone sign a waiver upon driving in, just like the drag strip 50 miles south of here . One or two have been killed at the dirt track with several very serious injuries but no lawsuits...
If you decide to drive a dirt bike 60mph over an earthen ramp, I guess you have already made the decision to fall back to the ground and suffer whatever abuse mother nature and father gravity have planned for you?
What makes me cringe is seeing these very small kids doing this.....

Dr. Giggles
06-13-2008, 03:54 PM
Thanks Jim...that was...er...elightening.

06-13-2008, 06:03 PM
I personally would be afraid to have a haunted house in my home without first checking with my home owners insurance or getting some insurance. But since it is in your home people won't treat it the same as a business. You could also make people sign a waiver or something along those lines.

But no matter what make sure you post some signs and warnings.


06-16-2008, 07:18 AM
Don't do it! It's not worth it by any means...for every 10 appreciative scared people, you'd get 1 to 2 Azzz-holes causing disruption and mayhem, and 1 of those 2 people will likely get hurt by their own means, and sue YOU...not to mention the red tape in your jurisdiction which probably requires outrageous county fees, written plans, electrical inspections, evacuation documentation, fire-retardant coated props, fire code compliance....yikes...what a mess. Sorry to be a gloomy gus, but I've been there and done that...never again!!! :(