After a day of feasting and football (will the Lions ever be good?), Americans will gear up for a day filled with holiday shopping—Black Friday. The stores at the North Shore Mall, the Burlington Mall, the Square One Mall, and Lynnfield Market Street have been advertising deals for weeks and folks will begin lining up at the doors once Thanksgiving dinner is finished. Shopping on Black Friday has become a family tradition for many, with the anticipation of saving money on Holiday gifts. Finding that special bargain is part of the fun. With some stores it even starts on Thanksgiving night, goodness!
Along with the excitement of Black Friday comes an increased risk of accidents. Mall parking lots will be swamped with pedestrians, shopping carts, frenzied drivers, children of all ages and sizes excited for the holiday, and cars searching for parking spots near the mall entrances. The potential for accidents sky rockets. According to Progressive Insurance, parking related accidents increase 36.5% on Black Friday. Progressive reports that rear-ending someone or getting rear-ended, accounts for 12.57% of claims; hitting a parked car or having your parked car hit by someone else, totals 11.13% of claims; and backing into another car or having your car backed into, accounts for 7.68% of claims. Not only are car accidents an issue but the potential for slip and falls in parking lots increases too. It is not unusual in Massachusetts to experience inclement weather around Thanksgiving and some years it has been cold enough for ice and snow on walkways and parking areas; which means an increased risk for slips and falls and car accidents. To help avoid accidents, wear winter footwear and be aware of changing conditions. Black ice is not unheard of on Black Friday.
After safely getting past the hazards in the parking lots on Black Friday, the shopping starts. Now begins the potential for accidents while meandering in the mall or price checking in the stores. When stores first open on Black Friday, there is also the risk of overly enthusiastic shoppers who have been waiting to get started since the early hours of the morning. When those doors open it’s possible that someone could be injured in a stampede to get to the special sale items. According to the United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration, retailers should practice crowd management during known busy shopping days such as Black Friday to avoid any accidents. Slip and fall accidents are also prevalent in stores. Wet floors (if the weather is bad), large crowds, pushing or shoving can all lead to slips and falls. Head and body injuries from careless elbows or falling merchandise can be serious and ruin the holidays with unexpected pain, discomfort and doctor visits.
With the packages and gifts bought on Black Friday, shopping carts can come in handy. However, shopping cart injuries are also becoming more common. Shoppers need to take care to prevent shopping carts from tipping over and make sure that small children are properly secured. According to the Washington Post, approximately 24,000 children annually are treated in U.S. emergency rooms for accidents related to shopping carts. While falls from the shopping cart were the most common, injuries from running into/falling over the cart, cart tip-overs and entrapment of extremities in the cart were not far behind. Always pay attention to children, yours and others, when shopping and keep in mind the potential for accidents when it comes to shopping carts.
With the expectation of Black Friday deals, shoppers may be in a rush to get that perfect gift, at a special price. But pay attention to surroundings and be extra diligent when shopping on Black Friday to avoid accidents and holiday stress. If you or a loved one is injured during Black Friday, contact an experienced North Shore attorney to discuss your rights.