There’s an ironic meme circulating on the internet that states: “Black Friday: The day people trample one another to buy goods the day after giving thanks for what they have.” While that pokes gentle fun at this apparent dichotomy, the fact that each year people suffer injuries while shopping and some even die on Black Friday is not the least bit humorous.
Hopefully, your Thanksgiving celebration didn’t involve any trips to the emergency room. But if you headed out early to scoop up some deep door-buster bargains, you may have unfortunately gotten injured by your fellow shoppers in the mad rush for the door or otherwise.
2018 was a deadly year
Since the stores have started opening their doors on the holiday itself, it has increased the chances of more shoppers being injured or killed. Last year in Alabama, a 12-year-old girl and an adult were injured in a gun battle inside of a suburban mall on Thanksgiving night. A mall security officer shot the gunman dead as he attempted to flee the scene.
But those were not the only injuries — or even deaths — last year. According to the website Black Friday Death Count, in 2018 across America, there were two fatalities and six injured while shopping the Black Friday sales.
But last year pales in comparison to the 46 injuries and one death that occurred to shoppers in 2011 in malls, department stores and big-box retailers all over the United States on Black Friday.
Store owners may bear liability for injuries
Merchants who advertise these mega sales can bear the brunt of liability for any claims for damage filed by the injured shoppers. There are many ways that a store can fail to keep its customers safe from serious injuries or worse, including:
- Failing to provide adequate security. Owners and security consultants should plan an orderly entrance path for the shoppers that does not include a stampede for the front doors. They should also have a sufficient police presence on the grounds to deter fighting or gunplay.
- Stacking heavy items on high shelves. Bargain hunters have suffered devastating neck and back injuries when heavy items like TVs or boxed computers have tumbled down onto them from overhead stacks. Merchandise should never be stacked above shoulder-level for shoppers of average height. The heaviest items should be stored at floor level.
- Not cleaning up spills and pooled liquids. This, of course, can be dangerous at all times of the year. But it is particularly important to be proactive about spills on the floor during high-traffic shopping days like Black Friday and others in the lead up to Christmas.
Are you suffering from Black Friday injuries?
If you were hurt during a mad Black Friday scramble (or otherwise), your recovery may preclude your returning to work for some time — at a time when you really need the money.
Holding the negligent store owners liable for your injuries and other damages by filing a premises liability lawsuit can help ease the financial burden you face.