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Potential Perils of Black Friday

November 16 2016 | Blog
  • Black Friday is a huge shopping day in the U.S. and one of the busiest days of the year. Retailers pull out all of the stops to encourage a buying frenzy that helps kick off the start of the holiday shopping season.

    Unfortunately, many shoppers also pull out all of the stops in terms of their behavior. Past Black Fridays have caused a media blitz as people run over one another in parking lots, get into fist fights in store aisles and — on at least two occasions in the past 10 years — get trampled to death by consumers who have lost themselves in their hysteria.

    Such Black Friday personal injury incidents are admittedly rare and often over-embellished in the media to scare up ratings, but the truth is that they do happen. Shoppers should keep their wits about them and behave responsibly to avoid being caught up, and possibly injured, in the consumer craze.

    So, to caution them against practices like going shopping at 2 a.m. while still drunk from Thanksgiving day before, here are some of the most vivid incidents in recent memory along with some legal food-for-thought.

    Long Island Retail Worker Gets Trampled to Death by Frenzied Black Friday Shoppers

    In one of the most tragic stories of Black Friday, a 34 year old employee of a major retailer was trampled to death just before 5 a.m. in 2008. The employee was a large 270 lb, 6’4” man who also had a reputation for being friendly and willing to talk with anyone about his favorite movies, Japanese anime and political topics.

    Despite the man’s size, the fervent mob proved too much. They pressed against the barricaded sliding glass entrance doors, which then shattered, sending the worker to the floor. According to witnesses, people poured through the doors and over the top of the worker, inflicting mortal injuries. At least four other shoppers were injured.

    Father Flips SUV, Kills Two Daughters After Black Friday All-Nighter in Palo Alto

    A 48 year old man faced manslaughter charges in 2013 following an incident that allegedly saw him driving while dangerously drowsy. Instead of getting sleep the day after Thanksgiving, he took his wife and four daughters on an all-night shopping trip in Gilroy near Palo Alto, CA.

    He placed all four daughters in the second row of his SUV, which only had seat belts for three second-row occupants, and then drove towards his San Bruno home despite being extremely exhausted. After striking a California Highway Patrol vehicle, his SUV flipped, killing two of his daughters, including one who had an upcoming wedding in India.

    Although officers sympathized with his tragedy, they determined his actions reckless enough to warrant manslaughter charges.

    Two Men Brawl at Louisville Mall

    In a more local story, two male shoppers instigated a fistfight at last year’s Black Friday over an unclear dispute at the Mall St. Matthews in Louisville. The story attracted national attention after video footage of the fight went viral.

    Reducing Your Odds of Black Friday Injuries

    Shopping on Black Friday is far from a guarantee of injury or death, given that most cities keep the peace during the yearly event. Nevertheless, Kentucky and Tennessee shoppers can reduce their chances of getting a personal injury on Black Friday if they heed the following tips:

    • Avoid areas with frenzied crowds; no deal is worth your personal safety
    • Get plenty of rest the night before and fluids the day of
    • Do not drive or shop while intoxicated or exhausted
    • Leave small children in someone else’s care
    • Follow all traffic rules, and ensure all vehicle occupants are buckled in safely
    • Never escalate a situation into violence or respond to accidental contact violently
    • Give workers space, for their sake as well as yours
    • Check on all injury victims; call emergency services as needed

    If you do happen to incur a Black Friday personal injury, then make sure to contact an experienced Bowling Green personal injury lawyer to represent your case.


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