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Black Friday Brawls, Can You Sue for Injuries?

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Black Friday, a day synonymous with significant retail discounts and crowded shopping venues, often sees a surge in customer-related injuries. 

The Black Friday Death Count website reporting 17 deaths and 125 injuries related to Black Friday incidents since 2006.

In Arizona, personal injury claims and issues of liability in such scenarios are governed by specific laws and statutes. For instance, premises liability, under Arizona Revised Statutes, holds store owners responsible for ensuring the safety of their patrons.

This becomes particularly relevant on Black Friday, where the risk of injuries like trampling, slip and fall accidents, and altercations increase due to the high density of shoppers. Additionally, Arizona’s comparative negligence laws may impact claims, wherein an injured party’s potential compensation can be adjusted based on their degree of fault in the incident.

Understanding these legal intricacies is crucial for anyone who suffers an injury during Black Friday shopping. This is where the expertise of a law firm like Colburn Hintze Maletta becomes invaluable. With their experienced team specializing in personal injury cases, they offer comprehensive legal assistance.

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Black Friday Brawls, Can You Sue for Injuries?

Can You Sue for Black Friday Injuries?

Yes, you can sue for injuries sustained during Black Friday events, provided certain legal conditions are met. In Arizona, as in other states, the success of such a lawsuit typically hinges on proving negligence or intentional harm. Here’s how this works:

 

  1. Establishing Negligence: To sue for injuries, you must prove that another party (such as a retailer or another shopper) was negligent. This involves demonstrating that they owed you a duty of care (like ensuring safe shopping conditions), breached that duty, and that breach directly caused your injury.
  2. Retailer Liability: Retailers can be held liable if they fail to provide adequate security, crowd control measures, or safe premises, and this failure results in injuries to shoppers.
  3. Individual Liability: If another shopper’s reckless or intentional actions, such as starting a fight or pushing through a crowd, led to your injuries, you might be able to sue that individual.
  4. Product Liability: If your injury was caused by a defective product, you might have a product liability claim against the manufacturer or seller.

who is liable for my black friday injury?

Who Can Be Held Liable for My Injuries Sustained on Black Friday?

Determining liability in Black Friday incidents is a complex process that involves examining the circumstances of the incident and the parties involved. In Arizona, the concept of comparative negligence may also play a role in determining liability and compensation.

 

  1. Retailers and Store Owners: The primary responsibility for customer safety falls on the shoulders of the retailers and store owners. They are expected to provide a safe shopping environment, which includes proper crowd control measures and adequate security. Failure to do so can lead to them being held liable for injuries sustained on their premises.
  2. Security Companies: If a store contracts a security company for Black Friday, and the security personnel fail to manage crowds effectively or act negligently, resulting in injuries, the security company could also be held liable.
  3. Other Shoppers: Individuals who engage in reckless or aggressive behavior that leads to injuries can be held personally liable. This includes fighting over products, pushing through crowds, or any other action that directly results in harm to others.
  4. Product Manufacturers: In rare cases, if a product-related injury occurs (such as a defective item causing harm), the manufacturer of that product could be held liable under product liability laws.

Understanding the Impact of Comparative Negligence on Damage Recovery 

 The concept of comparative negligence plays a crucial role in determining how damages are awarded in cases, including those arising from Black Friday incidents.

Comparative negligence is a legal principle that allocates fault among all parties involved in an accident. This allocation directly impacts the amount of compensation that an injured party can recover.

Under Arizona Revised Statutes § 12-2505, the state follows a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that an injured party can recover damages even if they are found to be 99% at fault for their injury.

However, the catch is that the compensation awarded will be reduced by the injured party’s percentage of fault. For example, if you are found to be 30% responsible for an incident leading to your injury, your total compensation will be reduced by 30%.

In the context of Black Friday, this could play out in various scenarios. For instance, if a shopper is injured in a stampede but was also part of the rushing crowd, their level of participation could be considered in determining their percentage of fault. Similarly, if a shopper slips and falls due to a spill that they did not notice because they were distracted, their lack of attention could be factored into the fault determination.

Famous Incidents of Black Friday Fights

Black Friday, known for its incredible deals and massive crowds, has also become infamous for some alarming incidents of violence and chaos. 

 

  1. 2008 Walmart Trampling in New York: In a heart-wrenching incident at a Walmart in Valley Stream, New York, a temporary employee, Jdimytai Damour, was tragically trampled to death by a crowd rushing into the store. This  event led to a reevaluation of crowd control and emergency response protocols in retail settings, especially during major sales like Black Friday. Walmart was fined for inadequate crowd management, sparking a nationwide discussion on retail safety during major sales events.
  2. 2011 Pepper Spray Incident in California: In a Los Angeles Walmart, a shopper unleashed pepper spray on fellow customers while competing for discounted Xbox video game consoles. This incident resulted in minor injuries to about 20 people, including children, and highlighted the extreme measures individuals might resort to in the heat of Black Friday shopping. The chaos caused temporary store closure and police involvement.
  3. 2013 Brawl in a Kentucky Mall: A video captured a violent brawl in a Kentucky mall that gained significant attention on social media. The altercation, reportedly over merchandise, illustrated the tense and often aggressive atmosphere that can develop among shoppers during Black Friday sales. 
  4. 2016 Brawl in Nevada: A fight over a parking spot at a mall in Reno, Nevada, escalated into a physical altercation. This incident is a stark reminder that Black Friday tensions are not limited to the inside of stores but can extend to adjoining areas, including parking lots. The fight resulted in one of the participants being hospitalized.

Black Friday Stampede

Types of Injuries and Compensation Available from Black Friday Incidents

Black Friday shopping can lead to a variety of injury scenarios, each with its own legal implications. Understanding these scenarios helps in determining the type of damages you may be able to recover. Here are some common injury scenarios and the potential damages that can be claimed under Arizona law:

 

  1. Trampling Injuries: In cases where a crowd surge or panic leads to trampling, victims can suffer serious injuries such as broken bones, head trauma, or even asphyxiation. In such cases, victims can seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  2. Slip and Fall Accidents: Wet floors, cluttered aisles, or poorly maintained premises can result in slip and fall accidents. Damages may include medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and compensation for any long-term disability or pain.
  3. Fights and Assaults: Physical altercations, whether with other shoppers or security personnel, can lead to injuries for which victims can seek damages. This might include medical expenses, emotional distress, and, in some cases, punitive damages if the behavior was particularly egregious.
  4. Parking Lot Accidents: Injuries occurring in overcrowded parking lots, whether due to vehicle accidents or pedestrian collisions, can also lead to claims for various damages.
  5. Product-Related Injuries: This includes injuries from defective products or accidents during product demonstrations. Compensation can be sought from the product manufacturer or retailer.

Types of Damages

 

  • Economic Damages: These are quantifiable losses such as medical expenses, lost earnings, and future medical care.
  • Non-Economic Damages: These include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Punitive Damages: In rare cases, if the defendant’s actions were particularly harmful or reckless, punitive damages might be awarded to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior in the future.

How a Personal Injury Attorney at Colburn Hintze Maletta Can Assist with Black Friday Injuries

If you’ve experienced an injury during a Black Friday event and need legal assistance, Colburn Hintze Maletta  is equipped to provide the necessary legal support. Specializing in a broad range of personal injury cases, CHM’s team is committed to handling every aspect of your case.

They focus on strategic case building, skilled negotiations, and protecting your legal rights, ensuring that you can concentrate on your recovery while they manage the legal complexities. Their approach is tailored to each case, ensuring personalized attention and a commitment to achieving the best possible outcome for your situation.

For legal consultation and assistance with your personal injury case, you can contact Colburn Hintze Maletta at (602) 825-2500 or reach out via email at intake@chmlaw.com. Their experienced team is ready to provide the guidance and advocacy you need during this challenging time.

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