It’s that time of year again! Thousands line up in front of retailers’ hours before opening to snag the best deals for holiday presents. It seems like it’s all in good fun, however for some customers, Black Friday shopping can end in tragedy. Numerous individuals suffer from injuries like bruised and broken bones, concussions, or even death as a result of stampedes, fall risks, and other hazards. Unfortunate, yes, but in these cases, who is liable? This may depend on a variety of factors; and, as such, it is important to make sure you hire attorneys that have both the knowledge and experience to investigate and determine who the responsible parties are in connection with a liability claim on your behalf if you’re injured on Black Friday.

If you are injured on a retailer’s premises on Black Friday, it is possible the retailer may be liable depending on the conditions at the store. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA, has acknowledged these injuries and narrowed the fault of the accidents down to the standard of care. Basically, if the retailer did not take preventative measures with the knowledge of the heavily populated sale, they may be liable for injuries or even deaths.

Black Friday is known for its absurd foot traffic and sometimes rude behavior of its participants, and, as such, stores may be liable if they do not take proper action when preparing for the sale. For instance, although it may not be the store’s fault if a customer gets into a brawl with another, if the fight or any injuries are foreseeable, the retailer could face a lawsuit.

If the store knew they would be facing large crowds, but did not prepare with an appropriate amount of security, it may be considered a premises’ liability case if you are hurt. Furthermore, the retailer needs to take specific safety precautions when planning for the event. Any loose flooring or preventable spills could hold the store liable for an accident that occurs on their premises. Employees should be on the lookout for any broken glass or spills. Retailers in cooler climates, such as here in Central New York, also face winter weather conditions that may include customers tracking in ice and snow, which could easily lead to slips and falls. Laying out commercial mats in store vestibules can prevent accidents occurring as a result of wet floor conditions. Preparation by the retailer is key and lack thereof can hold them liable for your accident and any resulting injuries.

 

As a Black Friday customer, here are several reminders and tips on how to stay safe on the biggest commercial day of the year.

  • Be sure to stay away from large crowds in order to prevent trampling.
  • If you encounter any struggles for the last few items or witness any aggressive crowd behavior, withdraw and leave the area.
  • Keep a careful watch of your surroundings and be careful to avoid any  potential hazards both inside or outside of the store;
  • Do not buy more than you can carry, and ask for assistance with your items.
  • In addition, do not flash your cash, keep your money in safekeeping, and do not take out your credit card or checkbook until the cashier asks.
  • Finally, if you are involved in an accident, report it immediately to store personnel, seek immediate medical attention (if necessary), write down the names of witnesses and take photographs of the hazard that may have caused your accident (or have someone do this for you if you are unable to do so yourself.)

 

The holidays are a time to cling to family and appreciate one another. Holiday shopping and getting the “best deal” is never worth the risk of injury or death, so remember to be smart and careful shoppers!! At Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi, and Pearlman, we wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving and hope your Black Friday shopping pursuits are both fun and safe!!

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.capitalregionupdates.gov/go/doc/4063/1615279/

http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/26/opinion/cevallos-black-friday/

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