When a Black Friday shopping spree ends in personal injury

Personal Injury
By Goodwin Como, P.C.

While Thanksgiving used to be primarily about gathering with family and friends for an abundant, calorie-filled meal, the holiday tradition is changing. For many families, Thanksgiving is now synonymous with the three Fs: feasting, football and Friday—Black Friday, that is. The steep, day-after-Thanksgiving sales prompt many Americans to head to the mall, in search of the perfect holidays gifts at great prices.

However, the shopping event isn’t always a relaxing, fun-filled occasion. The enormous surge of holiday shoppers—who have often been waiting in line all night on no sleep—can quickly make things get competitive and unruly. Violence often erupts at such sale events—leading to serious personal injury or even death.

In case of such an unfortunate turn of events, it’s important to understand your legal recourse. If you or a loved one suffered injuries on Black Friday, you first need to understand who is to blame.

Department store fault

Department stores owe a duty to their shoppers to keep them safe. They must take steps to prevent unsafe shopping conditions—or provide adequate warning of safety hazards. If you trip over a dolly left in an aisle or slip and fall on a freshly mopped floor that was not marked as wet, then you could hold the store responsible for your injuries.

Shopper fault

The more common Black Friday accidents, however, are caused by other shoppers. Frantic, sleep-deprived shoppers are often operating on a short fuse, and concern for others’ wellbeing can quickly vanish. Fist fights, stabbing and shooting have often occurred at Black Friday sales. In addition, shoppers have been trampled to death by the large crowds. In tragic cases such as these, the victim or their family has the right to seek restitution from the shopper(s) at fault. Store surveillance systems can be helpful in tracking down assailants, if a victim doesn’t know their identity.

If you or a loved one was injured at a Black Friday event, seek medical attention immediately. Then contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.