Every year at about this time--after the tryptophan-induced turkey coma has worn off, when there's no more football to watch and the holiday shopping sprees are over--comes the news reports from the holiday weekend. You read the all-too-familiar stories about tragic accidents at Black Friday events.
Black Friday originally got its name in the 1950s, referring to the day of the year when retailers "go in the black"--or, operate profitably. However, in recent years this term has taken on a second meaning--referring to the surge in accidents and violence that coincides with Black Friday sales.
While the added safety risks on Black Friday may not have been enough to deter you from heading to the mall the day after Thanksgiving, it's worth understanding your legal recourse if you suffered injury on the biggest shopping day of the year. Firstly, it's important to determine fault.
Department store's role
If you were injured in a department store, retailer negligence may have contributed to your injury. All retailers have an obligation to take certain precautions to keep their customers safe inside the store. If an employee leaves a dolly obstructing an aisle path and you trip over it, or if you slip on a wet floor that wasn't properly marked with warning signs, then you could hold the retailer responsible for your injuries.
Other shoppers' role
More often than not, Black Friday accidents are the result of other shoppers' reckless behavior. For many shoppers, any modicum of courtesy seems to go out the window on Black Friday. Frantic, bargain-hungry shoppers--many of whom have been awake all night--will stop at nothing to get the products they're after. Violence often erupts--including fighting, stabbing or even shooting. In addition, the large, frenzied crowds represent their own risk. Trampling is a common injury on Black Friday; several people have even been trampled to death. In cases such as these, the victim has the right to seek compensation from the at-fault shopper.
If you were injured at a Black Friday event, seek medical care immediately. Then, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to evaluate your case.