Black Friday is a huge opportunity to score great deals on consumer goods, but it’s also a chance to end up with serious injuries. People need to be aware of the risks posed by hordes of overeager shoppers as well as the dangers that can arise on the crowded and parking lots. Remember to stay calm, have a plan, and be prepared for a rough day of shopping if you’re going out the day after Thanksgiving.
Online deals may have curbed Black Friday in-store shopping trends since their peak in 2016, but the shopping holiday’s physical sales figures remain strong. In total, over 97 million people visited stores last Black Friday, a 4% dip from the year before. That number may decline slightly again, but Black Friday still remains the biggest shopping day of the year for in-store visits.
It’s also a day sometimes notorious for bringing out the worst in humanity. A website tracking Black Friday injury statistics based on news sources found that over 100 people have been seriously injured and 10 people have died in direct relation to Black Friday shopping accidents or conflicts.
Our personal injury lawyers in West Palm Beach have also seen a rise in personal injury cases around Black Friday and other major shopping days. Some of these incidents are related to business oversights (premises liability cases) or car accidents, but others come down to human decency flying out the window in favor of deep discounts.
Know that if you have been injured while shopping on Black Friday, you may be eligible for compensation from either the person you caused your injury or the business whose property it occurred upon.
Hopefully, though, it won’t come to a personal injury lawsuit if you use the following 5 Black Friday safety tips.
Shopping can definitely be a strenuous physical activity, especially during the marathon-like atmosphere that accompanies Black Friday. Individuals who are sleep-deprived, malnourished, dehydrated, or otherwise unwell are at higher risk of an injury and have a greater chance of their injury being serious.
Make sure to get plenty of rest the night before Black Friday, to eat a calorie-rich breakfast, and to have plenty of fluids on-hand throughout the day. Also, plan which stores you’re going to so you don’t feel overwhelmed or caught off-guard.
The goal of defensive driving is to anticipate that someone might make a poor driving choice and to react accordingly. For instance, if you see people blow past a stop sign in your neighborhood every day, you might decide to slow down rather near it than risk getting in a collision with a lawbreaker.
Your defensive predictions should be in full swing on Black Friday. Expect that every driver backing up in the parking lot won’t see you in time to stop, for instance. Also, keep a sizeable distance between your vehicle and other vehicles or pedestrians. Keep a particularly keen eye out for small children darting between cars in the parking lot.
Similarly, don’t expect too much in the way of common courtesy while you’re on foot. Watch out for shoppers careening their carts through blind corners or pulling hefty items off the shelf in a hurry. “Better safe than sorry” can be your motto.
A heavy item like a flat screen TV or grill can easily cause a back injury when lifted without the proper technique. Ask store employees for help with large or cumbersome items.
Be willing to wait patiently in the parking lot if you need help loading these items into your car, too. Store workers may be backed up, but waiting for their help is better than risking a serious injury.
The biggest way people can be safe on Black Friday is to remind themselves that they are out shopping for mostly non-essential consumer goods, not engaged in a fight for survival. All too often, interactions get heated or people get careless while shopping because they are focused on the idea that they have to be the one to score items at a hefty discount.
“Just remind yourself that no special deal is worth getting hurt over or hurting someone else,” Bridget Nichols, an associate professor of marketing and sports business at Northern Kentucky University, told The New York Times. “Whatever the ‘scarce’ thing is, it will likely be in abundance come January,” she added.
Research from The Times shows that many people who engage in risky, adversarial behavior on Black Friday do so on purpose as a form of competitive “rush.” They decide in advance that they’ll be the one to score a 90% discount on a designer dress, regardless of how badly they feel they need the item.
This hyper-competitive spirit can be made worse by the idea that deals or certain items are scarce. The same report on Black Friday bad behavior noted that video game buyers were more likely to be aggressive about getting the items they want if advertisements or word-of-mouth indicates than a certain item will be in short supply.
While there’s nothing wrong with getting joy out of shopping and scoring deals, you can keep yourself calm and help yourself avoid conflict by letting go of your competitive desire. Remember that many of the best deals don’t even come from Black Friday, so if you miss your chance you’ll likely get another one later.
Despite our best intentions, we can still end up in a stressful situation either with another shopper or a store employee. Remember, again, that no material good is worth sacrificing your health, safety, and dignity. If someone wants to escalate a social conflict into a physical fight, do everything you can to not engage. Notify security and, if necessary, the police as soon as possible.
Similarly, try not to let your blood boil if store workers make a mistake or can’t make good on advertised promises. While these situations may be frustrating, they have increasingly led to the escalation of violence or verbal abuse. If you feel like an employee or store manager has committed some grave error, notify the retailer’s headquarters later on rather than demanding an immediate remedy during the busiest shopping event of the year.
No matter how careful you are, a bad incident can still happen on Black Friday. Whether that’s a careless shopper slamming their heavy cart into your ankle or a careless driver nearly backing up their SUV onto your family, accidents can and will happen on Black Friday in South Florida.
If you or someone in your family is injured, know that you could be eligible to file a personal injury claim and seek a settlement for your medical costs and other losses. Your case could potentially name the person directly responsible for your injury or the property owner in charge of maintaining a safe space.
You can contact Steinger, Iscoe & Greene’s personal injury lawyers in West Palm Beach at any time over the holiday weekend, and we will respond as soon as possible to give you a free initial consultation.
We hope you get some good deals this Black Friday, but even more importantly we hope everyone stays safe while doing it. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and good luck shopping!