Is it Dangerous to Work in a Haunted House?October 20, 2021
As Halloween season approaches, haunted houses pop up everywhere. Halloween thrill seekers love to be scared and enjoy the thrill of walking through haunted houses being safely terrified.
People visiting haunted houses are there for just a few minutes and are exposed to the scare only for seconds. However, employees of haunted houses actually face lots of dangers. From startling customers to the point at which they physically react to workplace hazards, haunted house employees could get seriously injured while on the job.
Haunted House Workplace Hazards
Haunted houses usually seem like fun, albeit intentionally terrifying, places. Patrons face those simulated dangers and scares. Workers, however, face actual hazards.
Chemical exposure. Haunted houses have lots of fog and mist to create a scary atmosphere. This effect is created by using fog machines. These machines are filled with chemicals that produce the fog effect.
These machines are used for many events besides haunted houses, so they are generally safe. However, when there is not adequate ventilation, the chemicals can build up and cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Unlike other events where these machines are used, such as concerts or sporting events, haunted houses do not always have great ventilation. The fake fog can build up and have long-term consequences for employees who breathe the air.
Falling objects. Haunted houses are stocked full of props to scare people walking through. It adds great excitement and energy for the patrons but can be hazardous to workers.
When customers get scared, they may knock props over into workers, causing injuries. Objects may also fall from the ceiling if they are not properly secured, causing injury to workers as well.
Slip and fall hazards. In haunted houses, the lights are intentionally turned way down. This can enhance the eeriness of the experience for patrons but can make work more dangerous for employees.
The workers in a haunted house must know exactly where to be and when for maximum scary effect. Navigating back passageways and props on the floor and hanging from the ceiling, all while not being able to see clearly, is a significant hazard. Workers can slip or trip and fall on props, uneven floors, slippery floors, electrical cords, or even just because the lights are too dim. Each of these slips or trips can cause serious injuries.
Physical attack. Even though people go to a haunted house knowing they are going to be scared, they may still react in unforeseen ways. Startled patrons can react to a scare by punching, kicking, or some other type of physical attack on an employee. Because patrons may react involuntarily when scared, broken noses often happen to workers at haunted houses.
The worker did nothing other than their job to provoke the attack. Because they were injured on the job, they may be entitled to compensation from their employer.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
If you are or were employed at a haunted house, your employer may have been required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage. Workers’ Compensation insurance provides benefits to employees such as you who suffer injuries at work. The benefits may cover your medical bills and your lost income.
It is important to note that Workers’ Compensation insurance does not cover independent contractors. Independent contractors are not legally an employee of a haunted house, so they are not covered by the company’s Workers’ Compensation insurance. However, in many cases, even if your employer said you were an independent contractor, you might still be an employee and eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits, among other damages.
Personal Injury Claim
Although Workers’ Compensation insurance provides benefits only for medical expenses and missed paychecks, you may have other expenses related to your injury that you might need help to cover. In this case, a third-party personal injury claim may be available to you to try to get additional compensation, including for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
To bring a third-party personal injury claim, you would need to show that some person or company other than your employer was negligent, and that caused your injuries. Going this route beyond collecting Workers’ Compensation benefits could provide you with additional compensation that helps you with your recovery.
What to Do after You Get Injured at Work
When you get injured at work, whether by a patron hitting you or from some loose item left on the floor of the haunted house, there are certain steps you can take to help preserve evidence of your injury. Even if you are only going to file a Workers’ Compensation claim, you still need to provide documentation that you have been injured.
Speak with your manager. The first thing you need to do after being injured at work is to notify your manager right away. Do not wait until the end of your shift. Do not wait until the next day. You must make a record of your injury immediately.
This might ruin part of the haunted house experience for a few patrons, but your health and safety are paramount, especially when you have been injured. Speaking with your manager immediately creates a formal record of your injury.
Take pictures. This might also ruin the experience for some patrons, but it is necessary. Turn on the lights or use your phone camera’s flash to take clear pictures of how you were injured. If you tripped on an electrical cord, get a picture of it. If you had a prop fall on your head, get pictures of the entire area and the prop.
Also get pictures of your injuries. It is important to document your injuries as much as possible. Workers’ Compensation insurance is a no-fault program, meaning that you can still collect benefits even if you played a role in the accident. Insurance companies, however, can deny you benefits if they think you intentionally harmed yourself. Getting images of your injuries can help to show that you could not have intentionally caused your injuries.
See a doctor. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may need emergency medical attention. Do not refuse this attention, as you may have injuries that need immediate medical care.
After you are checked out and known to be alright, you should still go see your regular doctor. No one knows you better than your family physician, and they can compare your physical condition before and after your injury. This can give you a good idea of how badly your injuries have affected your ability to go about your daily routine, including work. Together with your doctor, you can create a path for your recovery.
Keep copies of all records. It is vital that you retain a copy of all your records. When you file the incident report with your manager moments after the accident, make sure you get a copy of it. Be certain that you get copies of your medical records as well.
Also keep receipts for any bills that you pay out of your own pocket. These can be helpful to get reimbursed from the insurance company later.
Keep a journal. The best way to record your injuries and your recovery is in your own words. Keeping a personal injury journal not only can help you recall what you endured but also help show that you played no part in your accident.
Your personal injury journal can also be used to support your third-party personal injury claim if someone besides your employer was to blame. Because you may be able to collect more compensation, your journal can show just how much you had to endure on your path to getting better.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Fight for Any Employee Injured at Work
If you have been injured while working at a haunted house, that is no different from getting injured at any other job. Your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance policy may provide you with benefits so that you do not miss pay. However, you cannot always count on the insurance company to do the right thing. Therefore, reach out to the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We help injured workers get the compensation they deserve for damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online for a free consultation.
With offices in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.