Every year it seems like Halloween becomes more and more popular, reaching the point where stores devote as much space to Halloween costumes and decorations as they do for Christmas. Costume stores open in many communities for just a few months each year, as Americans spend millions on materials that will give them just the right look. And, just like with Christmas, the tendency is to want to stretch the holiday as long as we can. There are haunted houses and trick-or-treating events in malls and on town squares, and there are pumpkin patches.
Unfortunately, where money is being spent profits often trump good sense, and many of these pumpkin patches and other events are run by fly-by-night types who do not actually know what they are doing. For the most part no one minds, because it’s just assumed that the venue is safe. A story out of Maine shows we need to pay a lot more attention.
A 17-year-old girl was killed and 22 others were injured when the driver of a Jeep bearing passengers lost control during a haunted house tour. The Jeep was just supposed to carry the people through a land of fake death and mayhem, but the unfortunate passengers were left with broken bones and severe head injuries. Though amusement parks require licensing in Maine, there are exceptions for events like this. Yet another loophole that businesses exploit.
This is the extreme case, but there are hundreds of injuries every year at these Fall events and other events just like them. Common causes include:
- Animal bites from petting zoos
- Children falling off hay rides or other vehicles
- People sickened by improperly handled foods
- Trampling injuries by having too many people packed into too small of a space
The operators of the attraction mentioned above claim the driver was experienced and capable, and this may be true. But there are a great many other ways a business can be negligent. Mechanical failure is often a sign that proper maintenance has not been done. The roadway might not have been cleared of debris.
If you or your child has been injured at an event such as Halloween haunted house, fair or carnival, or other amusement park venue, please contact an attorney to help you find the justice you need and deserve.