Nothing gets people into a crazed frenzy like impossibly low prices. That's why Black Friday is one of the most dangerous times of the year for shoppers.
Stampedes, pepper spray, and fistfights are just a few of the obstacles you may encounter next Friday. Below, we've offered a few tips to help you stay safe and avoid being the target of a personal injury suit on Black Friday.
For one night of the year, store parking lots transform into "Mad Max"-style landscapes. Drivers will be jockeying for parking spaces and pedestrians will be darting in and out of traffic, so remember to drive slow and stay alert no matter what the hour.
The danger doesn't stop once you've found a spot. When the doors open, many people who've been camping out for hours will make a dead sprint for the most sought after items. You don't want to get in their way.
The resulting stampedes can lead to bruises and broken bones. For example, this mad dash for $2 waffle irons that took place at a Little Rock Walmart looks more like a post-Katrina riot than any kind of sale.
Sticking with the "Mad Max" theme, the interiors of big box stores tend to become mini Thunderdomes on Black Friday, with rabid consumers battling it out for scarce items. If someone wants the item you're holding so much that he's willing to assault you for it, maybe you should just let him have it. The savings probably wouldn't be enough to cancel out your medical bills or legal fees.
Last year, two women in Rome, N.Y., had to be hospitalized after a fight broke out for $35 smartphones. "I was shoved down and ... kicked in the face," one of the victims told ABC News.
Fellow customers aren't the only ones you have to worry about. Police are often in riot mode at these things, ready to lay the smack down on anyone who gets out of line.
At a Black Friday sale last year, an Arizona grandfather tucked a video game under his arm to shield it from the swarming masses. An officer thought the man was trying to steal the game and slammed him face-first onto the ground, according to CNN. The grandpa was left unconscious in a pool of his own blood for 10 minutes.
If you are injured at a sale next Friday, you'll want to consult with a personal injury attorney about your legal options. Otherwise, stay safe and have fun bargain-hunting.
- Walmart's Violent Black Friday: 5 'Grim' Incidents (The Week)
- First Steps After an Injury (FindLaw)
- Stages of a Personal Injury Case (FindLaw)
- FindLaw's Car Accident Checklist: What to Do After a Wreck (FindLaw's Atlanta Injury Law Blog)