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Black Friday Shopping Injuries Are More Common Than You Think

Nov 24, 2010 - Premises Liability by

Long lines, big crowds, deeply discounted merchandise, stores opening at 4 am: all parts of the annual retailing rite known as Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. While many anxiously wait for the doors to open, anticipating amazing deals, few shoppers anticipate being injured or killed in a stampede.

Shopping injuries, typically from shoving or as the result of a slip and fall, are actually not uncommon. Being hurt while shopping is a real possibility, as can be seen by several fights and injuries in previous years on Black Friday.

Injuries while shopping were taken to an entirely new level in 2008 when Black Friday proved fatal for some shoppers and retail employees. A Wal-Mart worker in Long Island, N.Y. died after being trampled by an unruly crowd rushing through the opening doors. At least four other people were also injured in the stampede. Two men at a Palm Desert, California, toy store drew guns and shot each other after their female companions fought.

Taking caution against possible stampedes and unruly mobs, many retailers have put safeguards in place to prevent injuries. For example, Best Buy hands out tickets for certain limited-quantity items to people waiting in line before the store opens in order to prevent a stampede.

But there is only so much that store owners can do to prevent overcrowding. Overzealous shoppers may shove and push others out of the way. However, store owners can maintain parking lots and keep outer areas free from ice and other dangers in order to minimize potential premises liability injuries.

To prevent being injured while shopping, do your homework. Several websites are now dedicated to Black Friday and offer similarly priced items online. And to promote shopping during the current recession, many retailers are providing “doorbuster deals” online as well as in stores. By avoiding the crowds, you may be able to prevent unnecessary injury. But if you are hurt in a slip and fall accident while shopping this holiday season, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights.

Sources: Avoiding Black Friday Injuries; Wal-Mart worker trampled to death by frenzied Black Friday shoppers