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Can you sue if you're injured in a 'haunted house?'

New York City is home to some truly terrifying haunted house experiences this time of year. For many New Yorkers, it's just not Halloween unless you pay to get your wits scared out of you by human or electronic monsters, ghosts and various undead creatures.

Part of the fun is not knowing what to expect. However, sometimes people get so frightened that they trip, fall, run into walls or get a little too close to a knife, ax or chainsaw (which can hurt, even if they're not the real thing).

If you're injured during a haunted house adventure, don't count on being able to successfully hold the owners liable. There's been a long history of court rulings against plaintiffs that have suffered the kinds of injuries described above. The reasoning has typically been that the defendants knew what they were getting themselves in to, and should have been prepared to accept the consequences of what could happen in such a venue.

Further, some of these adventures require visitors to sign a liability waiver of some type. They may include a disclaimer or general release on the ticket that can protect them from liability.

Of course, that doesn't mean that they don't have a responsibility to keep their visitors as safe as possible. For example, adequate lighting may be necessary to help people avoid serious falls. In one case that was settled out of court, a haunted house owner paid a woman $125,000 after she fell and suffered multiple injuries. She claimed that she slipped and fell because there was insufficient lighting in the area that included a moving wall.

If you're going to visit a haunted house or other Halloween attraction this month, it's wise to read the fine print of anything you have to sign or that's on your ticket. It's also a good idea to pay attention to any cautionary signage and not to wander off from the designated route or area.

If you or a loved one does suffer an injury, an experienced attorney can help determine whether you have a viable case that can help you seek compensation for medical expenses and other damages.

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