The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

Black Friday: Deals and Dangers

With Black Friday approaching this week, retailers need to arm themselves for a lot more than just the crowds.

Rock bottom prices and swarms of crowds can make for chaotic situations. Remember the New York Walmart stampede in 2008 that resulted in the death of a Wal-Mart worker, Jdimytai Damour?

That sad case brought about a settlement between Walmart and the Nassau County District Attorney's office, where the retailer agreed to adopt better crowd management techniques in its New York stores.

The retail giant also agreed to pay upwards of $1.5 million to victims and to the county for community programs.

Learning from the Walmart example, retailers — large and small — need to take care this Friday to manage the crowds and to prevent any injuries from happening on site.

There are many areas of risk. With large crowds, over-excitement and an abundance of stock, there are accidents waiting to happen. Let’s look at some possible problems and what you can do to avoid them.

Slip and fall lawsuits.

Luckily, this year, the weather looks great for Black Friday 2012. It’s sunny and warm so there isn’t much risk of ice and snow. That doesn’t mean that customers can’t slip on store surfaces. Be careful with spills and have staff clean them up immediately.

Falling objects.

With inventory piled high, take care to make sure that objects don’t topple over and fall on customers. It may be wise to leave heavier objects out back and have them re-stocked, even it costs you more manpower.

Crowd control.

Have a system in place to ensure that only a certain number of people are allowed into the store at any given time. Check with local fire code ordinances to make sure that you are never in violation of the store’s maximum capacity limit.

Black Friday can be fun but if you’re not careful, it can be very dangerous. Take precautions and manage your liability risk carefully.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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