How Can You Prevent Injuries While Shopping On Black Friday -- And Who Can You Sue If You Are Injured?

The desire to find the perfect gift for what can seem like an ever-growing list while sticking to a budget can sometimes make Black Friday shopping a necessity during the holiday season. However, packed malls and crawling parking lots can pose danger for shoppers -- in fact, Black Friday shopping in the U.S. has been deemed responsible for 7 deaths and nearly 100 reported injuries so far. What should you do to protect yourself while participating in this shopping tradition, and what are your legal options if you do find yourself facing an injury after your shopping excursion? Read on to learn more about the avoidance of Black Friday calamities.

How can you protect yourself while Black Friday shopping?

The most important component of self-preservation is being aware of one's surroundings. Although a sudden mob of shoppers or an unexpected hazard in the store can take you by surprise, in many cases, simply being cautious and paying attention to those around you (rather than being absorbed in your phone or even in the deals you're hoping to snag) should help you avoid most potential injuries.

You'll also want to be especially cautious when navigating parking lots during the Black Friday shopping festivities. The increase in area traffic combined with the distraction of good deals can lead to reckless parking lot driving, making it even more important for you to practice defensive driving to avoid fender benders or escalated interpersonal conflict with a driver engaging in road rage. 

What are your options if you're injured while shopping on Black Friday?

If you're injured due to a store's negligence -- for example, failing to clean up spilled marbles or liquid, or not taking precautions against shoppers pressing up against a glass door or wall that shatters, your primary cause of action will generally be against the corporation or individual who owns the store, rather than the person or people who may be more directly responsible for your injuries. Suing the store owner rather than the individual can carry several advantages; most notably, the greater availability of commercial insurance funds to help pay for your medical and other expenses and any punitive damages.

However, in some situations, your appropriate cause of action may only be against the person who caused your injury, rather than the store owner. If you were physically assaulted while grabbing a toy or hit by a vehicle while crossing the parking lot, it's unlikely the store can legally bear any responsibility. On the other hand, you may be able to make a claim against the responsible party's homeowners' or auto insurance policy to give you greater leeway for negotiation when it comes to a settlement price.

For more information or assistance, contact a personal injury lawyer, like one from Vaughan & Vaughan.