Black Friday Injuries and Retailer Liability

In the weeks leading up to the notorious “Black Friday” for bargain-seeking shoppers, media sources reflected on past incidences of injury, even death related to stampedes, fighting, and brawls between customers and employees. In the event that a shopper is injured onsite, who is at fault? Can a consumer take action against a shop owner or corporation if they have suffered an injury? Black Friday attracts shoppers from all over the nation and has even spread to the UK. It is the busiest and most publicized commercial day of the year, but has also resulted in serious injuries and poses risk to consumers as well as retail employees.

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The National Retail Federation reports that there were over 90 million consumers participating in online and in-store Black Friday events. Those who decide to brave it in the masses could face potentially dangerous conditions. While many retailers will invest in a few extra security guards–they are not always sufficient or able to properly manage large crowds. A website found at www.blackfridaydeathcount.com tracks the number of injuries and deaths that have occurred as a result of Black Friday mobs. Individuals who have suffered a Black Friday injury do have the right to take action to collect compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and additional personal losses that may have been incurred.

Common law protects individuals who are on residential or commercial property. Consumers who enter into a retail establishment are protected under the law and can file a lawsuit in the event of an injury. In addition to warning customers of potentially dangerous conditions, retail owners who ‘invite’ customers onto the premises for the additional benefit of Black Friday deals could be held to a higher safety standard. Landowners who invite guests for a specific purpose that benefits the business owner has the highest duty of care to inspect and warn guests of defects on the premises. While most courts apply a “reasonable person” standard in all premises liability cases, they could hold storeowners to a higher standard because customers have been invited by retailers for a specific purpose.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal agency charged with ensuring worker safety has also published guidelines on how retailers should manage crowd control to prevent injuries. The agency also points to areas where a court may evaluate specific duties and standards of care. According to OSHA, retailers should provide adequate security as well as sufficient crowd control measures. The store will not be liable if two customers get into a fist fight over the last flatscreen TV; however, a retailer could be held liable if the altercation was foreseeable and failed to provide security measure.

Retailers who knew or should have known that there are unsafe or non-obvious safety concerns can be held liable for Black Friday injuries. Our Raleigh personal injury attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of victims and their families. If you or someone you love has been injured, we can take a strategic approach to protect your rights and recover full compensation for your losses. Stores that deliberately fail to mitigate safety and security issues may become liable.

Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.

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