Protecting Yourself Against Unregulated Halloween Attractions
Fall is here and it brought changing leaves and crisp evenings with it. The change in weather signals the beginning of October, the month of goblins, pumpkins and haunted houses. Across the country, children load onto haunted hayrides and scream their way through scary old houses. While these hair raising adventures can create great memories, they can also be dangerous without proper regulations and safety measures.
Recent reports are shedding light on the dangers of Halloween fun. In Maine, more than 20 people were reportedly injured when a hayride overturned on a steep hill. According to a report, a local farm sponsors the yearly hayride that purports to give a haunted experience through the woods. A small jeep pulls a flatbed trailer with riders. Last week, the jeep reportedly missed a turn, causing the trailer to jackknife and hit a tree. All of the passengers were reportedly thrown to the ground, resulting in one fatality and a number of injuries, which ranged from minor cuts to back and neck injuries.
In Idaho, a teenager was killed while taking part in a zombie paintball event. Reports explain that participants board a bus with paintball guns, as it makes its way through a corn maze. Actors dressed up like zombies and hid among the corn, periodically jumping out for the passengers to shoot with the paint balls. According to reports, one teenage participant jumped out in front of the bus in the fatal accident.
The Absence of Regulations
These incidents call attention to the dangers that are possible when young people visit and participate in Halloween attractions. Though it is an industry that grows more popular every year, it is largely unregulated. This has some visitors concerned and advocating to implement increased safety measures.
In Florida, along with most other states, these operations are generally monitored by the local government. Operators are expected to acquire permits. They must also abide by statutory zoning requirements and follow fire safety standards. The problem is that these rules are rarely enforced, especially due to the temporary nature of these businesses. They only open during the Halloween season and then close at the beginning of November. Without the active and timely regulation of a city official, the owners are allowed to open and close before violations are detected.
Unfortunately, these owners often demonstrate this same lack of responsibility when it comes to maintaining liability insurance, which can leave victims in financial limbo when accidents do occur. When visiting these local attractions, Florida residents can take a few precautions to promote safety:
- Call the city and ask if the attraction is licensed;
- Contact your local fire officials to ask about recent inspections of the attraction;
- Call the attraction ahead of time to inquire about licensing and insurance; and
- Ask attraction operators about a fire safety system and emergency exits.
Even with the most careful preparations, accidents still happen. When they do, owners should be held responsible for any acts of negligence or recklessness. An experienced lawyer can help you seek the compensation you deserve through the courts.
If you or a loved one has been injured at a Halloween attraction, contact the legal team of Pita Weber & Del Prado in South Florida for knowledgeable and skillful representation. Call the office today at 305-670-2889 for a free consultation.