On Black Friday, over 90 million Americans shop online or in-store. That many shoppers creates a huge potential for accidents to happen – and many do.
You may not consider shopping a risk-laden activity, but every year in the U. S., hundreds of Americans experience injuries while out at stores. Often, injuries are minor, such as bruises or scrapes. However, more serious injuries are possible. Incidents of neck and spine injuries, concussions, bone fractures, and even deaths have happened to individuals while shopping.
Retailers know this and must take certain measures to protect their customers. If they neglect their duties, they open themselves up to a premises liability lawsuit and can be held liable for common shopping-related injuries – including those that occurred at Black Friday sales.
An experienced Florida personal injury attorney can help you determine whether or not you have a valid claim of negligence if you have been injured.
How Do People Get Hurt While Shopping?
During seasons when shopping is more popular, such as between Thanksgiving and Christmas, reports of injuries are more common – especially on Black Friday. These are the typical Black Friday injuries that can occur on a retailer’s property:
Parking lot injuries – Cracks in the pavement can cause injuries, as well as slippery areas caused by weather or spills.
Cart injuries – If a shopping cart is broken, it can fall over or hurt you.
Overcrowding injuries – You may be injured if a store doesn’t take measures to prevent trampling.
Slips and falls – These injuries may be the fault of the store if due to broken tiles, carpet tears, wet areas, low lighting, or faulty escalators.
Fallen object injuries – These injuries can occur if objects fall from shelves, displays, or end caps.
What You Need to Win Your Claim
To file a premises liability lawsuit against a retailer, your attorney must be able to show that the retailer acted with negligence. This can be defined under the following conditions:
- You were lawfully on the retailer’s property (i.e. during normal business hours with the intent of shopping).
- The retailer had knowledge or should have had knowledge of the potential hazard and did not fix the problem or warn you about it.
- Your injury was a direct result of the retailer’s negligence.
- You accrued damages as a result of your injury.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines dictate that retailers must provide measures of crowd control and enough security, especially during busier than normal shopping days. You may have noticed that some stores have an employee holding a flag to designate where a line begins, or special roping near the cash registers. These are examples of how some retailers use measures to control crowding and prevent trampling.
Black Friday is an unusual shopping day, and most retailers can expect foot traffic to dramatically increase. If they don’t adequately prepare to handle the crowds, they may be held liable for any injuries that occur as a result.
Naturally, you should expect a retailer to fight back against your charges. The common defenses retailers use against premises liability claims include:
- The retailer had no preexisting knowledge of the hazard.
- The retailer took reasonable actions to fix the problem.
- The retailer provided adequate warning of the situation.
- The area in question did not present a hazard.
- The hazard did not cause your injuries.
- You ventured into an unauthorized area.
- The area in question is not under the retailer’s jurisdiction.
How to Get Started
To file a valid claim, you must act quickly to stay within the statute of limitations. You also must seek medical care for your injury and keep track of your medical records. They will provide key evidence that your attorney will use to build the case.
You can seek compensation for medical costs, time you couldn’t work, and – depending on the extent of your injury – pain and suffering that occurred due to your injury. If you are ongoing as a result of your injury, you may also receive compensation for future medical expenses.
If you experienced an injury while shopping this Black Friday or anytime during the holiday season, it’s important to consult with an experienced premises liability attorney who has successfully helped others like you to get the compensation they deserve. Your attorney will know whether the retailer can be held liable for the damages incurred due to your injuries. To discuss the unique details of your case, call today to schedule a free initial consultation.
About the Author:
Since 1994, seasoned litigation and trial lawyer Anthony B. White has helped thousands of accident victims seek damages due to injuries sustained as a result of another party’s negligence. Included in America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals and selected to the 2012, 2013, and 2014 editions of Florida Super Lawyers, Mr. White specializes in car accidents, insurance disputes, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice cases. He is a longstanding member of the Florida Justice Association and the American Association for Justice and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Broward County Justice Association.