Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is a day full of crushing crowds, frenzied customers, and hazardous shopping conditions. Thousands of consumers wait all year to purchase certain items on Black Friday, when product prices plummet to all-time lows. As discounts and deals have grown in measure, so has the chaos surrounding this “holiday.” If you suffered an injury while Black Friday shopping, as a consumer or an employee, you aren’t alone. Pursue your rights by understanding who may be legally responsible for your injuries.
During a massive sales event like Black Friday, there are several prominent hazards for shoppers and employees. There are risks such as getting trampled by the massive crowd, people blocking emergency exits, and of acts of violence. People may find themselves pushed, pulled, or “sucked in” by the crowd, unable to protect themselves from battling customers. On top of the risks that come with large crowds, there are also regular property hazards such as spills and uneven curbs. During Black Friday, employers must take extra safety measures.
As a day when stores see such heavy influxes in foot traffic, many storeowners may not be prepared to safely control operations. The death of a Walmart worker in 2008 after being trampled by a crowd of nearly 2,000 people on Black Friday is one example of how out-of-control this day of the year can be. Many storeowners, managers, and employers simply don’t take the proper measures to ensure employee and shopper safety under such hectic conditions. Even the police officers on this tragic night said that dealing with such a crowd wasn’t in their job descriptions.
Today, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires retail employers to take certain safety precautions to prevent injury during major sales events. These measures serve to protect shoppers and employees during times of increased traffic flow, especially at events such as Black Friday. OSHA’s guidelines for a crowd management plan include:
It’s an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe work environment for employees. It’s a building owner’s responsibility to provide a safe premises for visiting shoppers. If either of these entities negligently fails in these duties resulting in a Black Friday injury, the injured party may have grounds for a lawsuit.
If you suffered an injury while Black Friday shopping, contact an attorney to discuss whether you have the option of bringing a civil claim. An attorney can investigate the cause of your accident and give you a professional opinion. If you can prove that an employer broke OSHA’s guidelines for crowd management during Black Friday or that a property owner negligently failed to repair a known hazard, you likely can file a claim. Both of these incidents can constitute negligence in the eyes of the law.
Filing a lawsuit against the responsible party can result in compensation for your medical bills, physical injuries, emotional pain and suffering, lost wages due to your injuries, and temporary or permanent disability. If your Black Friday shopping excursion turned into tragedy because of a negligent person or company, don’t delay in speaking with a lawyer to determine your legal recourse.