Universal Studios Florida kicked off the park’s annual Halloween Horror Nights in early September, with 48 days of after-hour scares planned for the bravest parkgoers. During this event, visitors can enjoy interactive horror sets, live entertainment, a unique menu, and more between 6:30 PM and 2 AM.
There are also 10 haunted houses and five scare zones to make it through. The event will attract thousands of visitors, and accidents and injuries will likely occur with all the people, dark sets, and activities.
Do you know what rights you have after sustaining an amusement park injury? Do you know how to pursue compensation? At Zimmet & Zimmet, our personal injury lawyers can review the facts of your case to determine if you are entitled to compensation.
Learn more about your rights after an amusement park injury at Halloween Horror Nights and situations when you can recover compensation. You can also call our office for answers to any questions you have.
Read and Understand the Park’s Liability Waiver
Each guest must sign a liability waiver before entering the park. No fine print can be used on these waivers to hide or conceal specific terms, which means you should be able to easily read the document before signing.
The waiver outlines all information regarding what accidents, injuries, and situations the park may be liable for. For example, staff members cannot physically touch guests. Additionally, guests should be warned of dangers if they have certain health conditions. If these things are not done or followed, and you are injured, it is possible to hold the park liable.
Food poisoning is another concern for guests. The park serves all types of food and drink, including specialty items during events like Halloween Horror Nights. If the food causes food poisoning, the park can be liable.
Knowing your rights when visiting Universal Studios for a special event is necessary. It will also help you protect your rights if an accident occurs.
Potential Injuries at Halloween Horror Nights
As mentioned above, special events like this attract thousands of visitors. Injuries happen with all the guests present and the “scare tactics” used. Some of the most common injuries include slips, trips, falls, food poisoning, and ride-related injuries.
During Halloween Horror Nights, guests are exposed to more dangers. One reason is that all the amusement parks are trying to provide the most exciting and frightening events.
Slip, Trip, and Fall Injuries
This is the most common injury seen at amusement parks any time of the year. Common culprits include poor lighting and tripping hazards. Also, the walkways in haunted houses and scare zones may be uneven, narrow, or slippery, which can cause visitors to lose their balance when “attacked.” A fall like this can cause broken bones, sprains, and head injuries.
Negligent Scare Tactics
Another injury seen during these events has been labeled “scares gone too far.” This occurs when actors get into their roles, chasing guests and causing them to fall or run into other guests. Heart attacks and anxiety attacks have also been reported due to overzealous staff members.
Malfunctioning or Damaged Props
Injuries from broken animatronics and worn-out props can be devastating. The props may fall or malfunction, hitting guests and causing serious injuries. Sometimes, carbon monoxide is an issue at haunted venues if fog machines are used. When these run for extended time periods, they can lead to slippery surfaces. They can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning if the area is not ventilated. This may lead to injuries to both guests and staff members.
Is the Park Liable for On-Site Injuries?
You may wonder what to do after being injured at Halloween Horror Nights. Chances are you also wonder if the park can be held liable.
As mentioned above, you must sign a waiver before entering the park. The goal of the waiver is to limit liability. While true, even if a guest signs the waiver, the park can be liable if they are negligent for any of the following:
- Not maintaining the equipment
- Not training the ride operators
- Not displaying the necessary safety notices
- Not providing guests with safety instructions
While the park can be held liable for negligence, guests are expected to follow the safety instructions and avoid any actions that would lead to an injury.
For example, guests cannot engage in activities that are considered inherently dangerous. One example is trespassing into an area marked as “prohibited.” Failure to follow the safety instructions would move liability from the park to the guest. Other examples include not adhering to weight, height, or age restrictions for rides or other ride safety instructions.
Proving Fault or Negligence After an Amusement Park Accident in Florida
If you are injured while attending Halloween Horror Nights, you must take steps to protect your rights to compensation. This involves proving negligence. Here are some steps to help you build a strong case for negligence under Florida law.
- Take Photos and Videos: Document the accident scene, your injuries, and any broken equipment or safety hazards.
- Collect Witnesses: Gather the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident.
- File an Incident Report: File an official report with the amusement park’s security or management.
Understand Florida’s Negligence Laws
Florida follows a “pure comparative negligence” system, meaning you can still recover damages even if you are partly at fault. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Establish the Four Elements of Negligence
- Duty: Show that the amusement park owes you a duty of care. This is usually straightforward since amusement parks are obligated to ensure the safety of their guests.
- Breach: Demonstrate that the park failed to uphold this duty. This could mean poorly maintained equipment, insufficient signage, or inadequately trained staff.
- Causation: Prove that the park’s failure directly caused your injury.
- Damages: Finally, you must show that you suffered harm, like medical expenses or lost wages, due to the accident.
Consult an Expert
A medical expert can testify to your injuries’ severity and long-term effects. This can be helpful when trying to prove negligence.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer for Help Filing an Amusement Park Injury Claim
Halloween Horror Nights should be a fun and exciting time for every guest. Knowing your legal rights and options is essential if you are in the unfortunate situation of being injured.
At Zimmet & Zimmet, our Orlando personal injury lawyers can help you file a claim, gather evidence, and prove negligent. With years of experience, you can count on us to help you navigate the legal process.
Amusement parks are required to provide safe events and experiences for guests. When they fail to do this, it is necessary to hold them accountable. We can help.
The first step is to contact our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.