Halloween Attractions Can Be Dangerous or Even Deadly for Children

Many children count Halloween among their favorite holidays. Trick-or-treating, spooky decorations, and costume parties make for a festive and joyous time. Halloween rides and other attractions provided by businesses may be frequented by entire classes of school children or large groups of friends and neighbors. Parents have the right to and usually do assume that these attractions will not cause their children harm and will be run by experienced and competent individuals who have taken care to ensure the safety of all children who participate in a business-operated event. The sad truth is that these attractions may turn deadly as a result of a business’s or business employee’s negligence or other actionable behavior.

On October 12, 2014, for example, a Halloween haunted hayride attraction provided by a farm business in Maine resulted in the death of one teenage girl and the injury of at least 20 others when the driver of the 1979 Jeep that was pulling the trailer used for the ride attempted to make a sharp downhill turn on a path through a wood. The driver—who was said by a business spokesperson to be an experienced truck driver with a commercial driver’s license—reportedly missed the curve, causing the trailer to jackknife and hurl everyone on the trailer into a tree or another person.

halloween safetyAccidents such as this can be avoided by the exercise of reasonable care and should never happen. Children are entitled to the protection provided by people and businesses that take care to prevent their illness, injury, or death. When the negligence of an individual or entity causes an accident that could have been prevented and results in a child’s injury or death, the child or the child’s survivors may be entitled to compensation through legal action. If your child has been injured or killed in a business-operated event such as a Halloween or other attraction, or in any other way as a result of someone’s negligence, child injury attorney Jeffrey Killino and his team of child injury and accident lawyers can help you obtain the justice you deserve from the responsible parties.

Legal Responsibility for Children’s Halloween or Other Attraction Injuries and Deaths

The negligence of businesses and/or their employees who run or take part in the operation of holiday attractions or events may cause injury or death to children who participate in these events. Depending on the state in which an accident occurs, the nature of the business and the particular event, and the circumstances surrounding a particular accident, a business and its employees may or may not be held responsible for a participant’s injury or death.

The hayride accident discussed above was operated by a farming business in Maine. Many states, including Maine, have laws that limit a farmer’s liability for injuries and deaths sustained in farm-related events or “agritourism” activities. Though these laws may vary from one state to another, they generally provide for a farming business’s limited liability on the basis that participants in these events are aware that the events pose certain inherent risks and have accepted the possibility that they may cause injury or death. A statute may state that such “inherent risks” include “risks of injury inherent to land, equipment and animals” or injuries caused by a participant’s own negligent behavior. If a hayride operated by a farming business is held to constitute an agritourism activity under one of these statutes, the business may be relieved of liability for injuries and deaths held to have resulted from one of the inherent risks contemplated by the statute. Plaintiffs injured or killed in a hayride in the manner in which the Maine participants were injured or killed, however, may argue that the risk of the type of accident that caused the victims’ injuries and death is not among the risks contemplated by the statute.

In addition, these laws may not protect a farm-event operator from liability for injuries and deaths caused by an employee’s or business’s negligence or reckless disregard for the safety of others. Thus, the victims of an agritourism-activity accident may be able to hold a farming business and its employees liable for the victims’ injuries or deaths by proving that the accident and resulting injuries and death were caused by the negligence or reckless behavior of the business or its employees. A farming business may, thus, be found indirectly liable for injuries caused by the reckless driving of an employee, for example, or directly liable for negligently screening or training an incompetent employee.

These laws may also provide that a farm-event operator may be held liable for injuries or deaths caused by dangerous conditions of the land, facilities, or equipment used in an activity that the operator knew about or reasonably should have known about and failed to warn a participant of. Thus, a victim injured in a hayride or similar activity may argue that a farm operator knew or reasonably should have known of the risks of driving a trailer down an incline in a wooded area, for instance, and failed to warn the victim of the danger that resulted in the victim’s injury.

Obtain Expert Assistance from Child Injury Attorney Jeffrey Killino

Child injury attorney Jeffrey Killino and his team of child injury and wrongful death lawyers have earned national recognition for their dedication to helping children who have been injured or killed as a result of someone’s negligence and to preventing similar accidents from occurring in the future. If your child has been injured or killed in an accident and you have reason to suspect that the accident was caused by the negligence of an individual or entity, contact Attorney Killino for experienced and compassionate assistance with your child injury or wrongful death case.