What Are Your Options if You Were Injured on Black Friday?

Sakkas Cahn & Weiss

Black Friday can turn tragic for any shopper. In the past, they’ve left shoppers injured or dead. Over half of Americans still participate in the hopes of scoring a perfect holiday deal.

In some cases, you might have recourse to pursue a personal injury case if you were injured while attempting to take advantage of sales.

What kinds of injuries are common on Black Friday?

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We see all sorts of injuries from all sorts of cases, including:

  • Slips and falls from pushing, shoving, and stampeding
  • Injuries from assaults, including pepper spray, assault with a deadly weapon, and brawling
  • Injuries from falling merchandise overturned clothing racks, or scattered merchandise due to ransacking
  • Car accidents

The hype, excitement, sense of scarcity, exhausting conditions, crowds, and traffic can all contribute to Black Friday incidents.

One researcher attributes Black Friday behavior to feelings of inequality. Normal store transactions are more or less equitable; the process of obtaining some of the better deals isn’t always rational or fair, especially if a consumer expended a great deal of effort to obtain the promoted item at the promoted price.

In addition, “doorbuster” prices are often limited to the early morning hours and are available only to those who are the first to enter the store. Often, people wait in line for hours prior to the store’s opening. Waiting in line with a large crowd for hours can in itself stoke aggression.

This can cause trouble, especially since some of those great deals are gone when they’re gone. Researchers also found that people who expended effort planning their Black Fridays tended to act more impulsively. Retailers, of course, go out of their way to stoke feelings of excitement and scarcity, and promotions themselves evoke more emotions than the normal shopping experience does.

In addition, all the normal injury parameters can still apply. Substances can spill and create slip hazards on floors. Snow and ice can turn parking lots and sidewalks into obstacle courses.

Where do Black Friday incidents happen?

There are three locations where Black Friday incidents typically happen:

  • Inside the store
  • At the door of the store
  • In the parking lot

Walmart accounts for 70% of Black Friday injuries and deaths, but few big box stores are events.

Who can be held liable for Black Friday injuries?

If a rude shopper shoves you into a shelf on Black Friday, is it the shopper’s fault or the store’s fault? Are you a victim of a crime, or are you eligible to launch a personal injury case?

If you want to hold the retailer accountable, the question will boil down to whether the retailer failed to exercise reasonable care. Black Friday does not excuse retailers from their normal obligations to maintain safe conditions in their stores.

  • Did the retailer create conditions that any reasonable retailer might know would lead to a stampede and fail to manage lines and crowds accordingly?
  • Did the retailer take precautions like hiring extra staff, putting up barricades, or enacting additional security measures?
  • Did the retailer use reasonable processes to quickly deal with spills, broken items, unstable shelving, unstable items, or other issues that could cause injury?
  • Did the retailer make an effort to communicate with shoppers to prevent incidents, such as by advertising out-of-stock deal items on a board outside of the store?

If the retailer took reasonable precautions, there may still be other parties worth pursuing. For example, if you were injured in a car accident and meet the severe injury threshold, you can sue the driver no matter what day of the year it is. If you were assaulted, you may also be able to bring a personal injury case against the person who assaulted you, in addition to making a claim with the New York Victim’s Assistance Fund.

Get Help Today

As with any personal injury case, it is vital to avoid attempting to do guesswork about whether or not you have a case. We recommend scheduling a free consultation with one of our attorneys to review the facts of your case.

We will be happy to determine whether you have a chance of recovering compensation, as well as going over your next steps. Contact us today.

See also:

Who is Liable if You’re Injured During an NYC Parade?

How Do Negligent Security Cases Work in New York?

Can You Seek Compensation in a New York Assault Case Without a Criminal Conviction?

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