Summer blockbusters are a huge attraction — and spending some time in a cool movie theater is a great way to kill some time on a hot day. However, movie theaters are not immune to accidents.
Most of the time, the injuries don’t amount to much more than a stubbed toe and a bruised shin from climbing over other patrons to get to the aisle. Other times, however, people aren’t as lucky. A bad fall inside a movie theater can leave the victim with broken bones, slipped discs, spinal damage and brain injuries.
How do you tell, though, when an accident in the theater is just bad luck and when it’s the theater’s fault? This is an important question, because theaters are responsible for providing a reasonably safe environment for their guests. When they fail in that responsibility and someone gets injured, the theater can be held liable.
Most of the time, accidents inside movie theaters are caused by an employee’s lack of care or a lapse in judgment on the part of the theater’s management. The following things often lead to injuries:
- Spilled food or drinks that aren’t cleaned up between the movie showings
- Cords to cleaning equipment or other equipment left running along the aisle
- Inadequate or burned out lights where people walk
- Missing reflective tape or other warning guides on steps
- Poorly-maintained carpets in hallways and aisles that are frayed or torn
- Broken seats that are dangerous or loose
- Handrails that are missing, particularly on steeply-sloped aisles
- Steps or tile floors that have been recently washed or waxed and left without a warning sign
Any of these situations could lead to a fall. A broken seat, for example, could easily send you crashing to the floor in the middle of your movie.
Understaffed theaters are prone to another problem: out-of-control patrons. When there aren’t any ushers, some patrons may be inclined to horse around, squabble or otherwise put others in danger with their antics. The theater can be held liable for not enforcing its own safety rules.
If you have suffered an injury in a movie theater, consider all your legal options, especially if you’re facing mounting medical bills and other expenses related to your injury.