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Are Stores Responsible if Customers Get Hurt on Black Friday?

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on November 23, 2016

You’ve heard the stories. A customer gets punched by another customer while fighting over the last Xbox a store carries. Or a woman gets trampled when a store’s doors open for their big Black Friday sales. While Black Friday shopping accidents aren’t always this extreme, they happen more than people think and often, injuries resulting from Black Friday shopping occur. When they do, the question most often asked is: are stores responsible if customers get hurt on Black Friday?

In the eyes of the law, an individual that enters another person’s property is considered to be a trespasser, a licensee, or an invitee. Of course, as a shopper shopping during regular business isn’t a trespasser, but even if you received a flyer in the mail telling you that you’re “invited to our Black Friday Bonanza,” you’re not an invitee either. This is because people who enter onto the property in order to conduct business that will benefit the business owner are considered a licensee. In these cases, the law is very clear. Businesses must make every possible effort to ensure that licensees will be kept safe at all times while they are the property conducting business.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration backs this up with their own set of guidelines stating what might be considered proper standards of care in court. According to those standards, business and store owners must ensure they have adequate security, as well as sufficient crowd control measures in place.

Of course, store owners might not always be responsible if a customer intentionally injures another customer while shopping, but they’re not automatically cleared of fault either. If the store knew that there was a possibility it could happen and they did nothing to stop it, the store owner could be held accountable.

Black Friday accidents are more common than people think, and when they do occur, it’s natural to think that the store might be at least to partially to blame. In many cases they are, but getting compensation is difficult, especially when you’re dealing with a very large company that has an entire team of lawyers. If you’ve been hurt while Black Friday shopping, the responsible parties need to be held liable, and we want to help make sure they are. Contact the Seattle premises liability attorney at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. today by calling toll-free at (888) 228-3860.

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