‘Tis the season for gourds, festive drinks, and warm sweaters. And for those of you planning on hitting the pumpkin patch this month, it’s important to be aware of safety. With hay-bale rides, petting zoos, and corn mazes comes lots of fun and laughter. But they also carry risk. If you or a loved one gets injured this year at the pumpkin patch, will you have any claim?
Pumpkin patches, like nearly all public venues, are required to carry some sort of liability insurance. But what constitutes a defendable, legal case?
According to Marsha Salzwedel, a research specialist for the National Farm Medicine Center, “Approximately 14,000 children are injured each year on farms and ranches[,] and 40% of the children are visitors.”
If your child happens to be one of those unfortunate victims, there are several things you can do to help construct a defendable case.
Like so many things, determining liability at the pumpkin patch relies heavily on establishing negligence. Negligence is defined as “conduct that falls below the standards of behavior established by law for the protection of other against unreasonable risk of hard.” Therefor, to establish negligence you must show that the pumpkin patch was directly responsible for this injury, either though neglecting to implement safety standards, by allowing objects to remain in the area that are harmful, or by allowing negligent staff to be employed there.
For example, if you and your family is on a hay-bale ride (which should be slow moving) and the driving suddenly decides to increase speed to 90 miles per hour, you may have a defendable case, because that employee put you and your family at risk for unnecessary harm.
Another example could be related to animals. Say there is a donkey at a corn maze or pumpkin patch that has been complained about before for bucking at guests and aggressive behavior. However, the managers decides to not do anything about it. If you take your child to a ride on that donkey and they are injured as a result of that animal’s aggressive behavior, you may have a case, since they owners did nothing to increase safety measures during customers.
Slip cases are harder to prove, since, especially during the rainy season, pumpkin patches can be mudding, wet, and slippery.
The best way to prevent an accident is to take steps to avoid situations where accident can happen.
If you’re going to a popular pumpkin patch, petting zoo, or corn maze, look up reviews from previous patrons to see if there are any common themes of negligence, or any dangers to be aware of. When on machinery, keep small children close, and never leave a child in a petting zoo unsupervised.
If you or a loved one has been injured at a pumpkin patch this season, our team at Evergreen Personal Injury Council may be able to help. Contact us today to get started.