Safety First: Injury Risks Loom on Black Friday

Common acts of negligence can lead to serious injuries for Black Friday shoppers.

With Black Friday just around the corner, families and friends throughout the Atlanta area are getting busy scouting out the best deals and planning which stores to visit first. For most, Black Friday is a fun way to spend quality time with loved ones while getting a head start on the holiday shopping season. The biggest risk they contemplate is spending a little too much on presents.

In reality, though, Black Friday's signature combination of big crowds, overly-excited shoppers and flashy merchandising displays can pose significant safety risks to shoppers and workers alike. Slippery floors, pushy customers and unstable merchandise can all contribute to serious injuries.

Black Friday injuries

Since 2006, there have been approximately seven deaths and 90 high-profile serious injuries attributed to Black Friday shopping. Many of these real-life examples border on the bizarre - a fight in a toy store that erupted in gunshots, a man being trampled in a Wal-Mart, a shopper being pepper sprayed after getting into a fight over a television set.

While these incidents might make news headlines, the real risk lies in more common acts of negligence. Imagine, for example, a precariously stacked display of heavy items that falls and injures a shopper. Or a harried store clerk who forgets to clean up a spill, leading a customer to slip and fall. Or a stressed-out driver who hits a pedestrian in the parking lot, causing serious injuries.

These types of accidents might not get picked up by the media, but they happen all the time. And when they do, victims' lives can be irreparably changed.

Your rights under Georgia law

Under Georgia law, store owners and operators have a duty to keep their establishments in reasonably safe condition. Among other things, this means keeping the shop floor free of hazards that could cause customers to trip or slip, keeping displays and shelves stocked safely, and training employees to safely manage crowds.

When storekeepers fail to uphold this duty, injured victims can take action to secure financial compensation for the losses they have suffered, including lost wages, medical bills, compensation for future medical care, and compensation for pain and suffering. Similar legal remedies are available to individuals who are injured by negligent drivers.

In addition, employees who are injured in Black Friday accidents may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits to pay for medical expenses and lost wages. In most cases, the right to this benefit exists regardless of who was at fault for causing the injury.

If you or a loved one is seriously injured while shopping on Black Friday - or on any other day of the year, for that matter - it's worth it to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney.

The lawyers at Hilley & Frieder offer free consultations and work with clients in Atlanta, Marietta, Decatur, Douglasville, Duluth, Lithonia, Lawrenceville, Macon, Athens, Kennesaw, Cartersville, Smyrna, Stone Mountain, Norcross, Riverdale, Jonesboro, Fulton County, Cobb County, DeKalb County, Gwinnett County, Clayton County, Douglas County, Barrow County, Henry County, Fayette County, Cherokee County, Forsyth County, and Floyd County.

Keywords: Black Friday, premises liability, personal injury