The crisp air, fallen leaves, and the sounds of ringing Salvation Army bells means the joy of the holiday season is just around the corner. Parking lots will soon be packed to their peaks and retailers bustling with shoppers hoping to get the best Black Friday deals on what seems to be every day of the Thanksgiving week. As a shopper, the last thing on your mind is slipping or falling while walking through the toy aisles of your favorite retailer, yet these unplanned holiday hazards cause thousands of people to end up in emergency rooms each year due to a minor or major personal injury sustained while shopping.
Risks and Types of Injuries
During the busy holiday season, overcrowded stores and often unfavorable weather conditions can lead to overlooked safety dangers that fall blind to the $250 XBOX One that you are first in line for. A “shopping related injury” or “personal injury sustained while shopping” are two general terms with broad definitions and can be as severe as a neck or spine injury or a more mild bruised hand from trying to take the last iPhone 6+ from the person in front of you.
Slippery Surfaces: Wet floors at the entrance of a retailer or navigating the icy parking lot might be expected, but that wet spot in the perfume aisle from a spill could lead to a fall ending with a broken bone.
Uneven Surfaces: This risk might be apparent in the parking lot or sidewalk in front of the retailer, but it is also a risk inside the retailer where tile turns to carpet, a piece of torn carpet, or stepping onto a moving escalator. An unsuspected uneven surface can lead to a fall with major consequences. With that being said, standing on a shelf to reach something overhead can also lead to a personal injury, but it may be viewed differently.
Shopping Cart: More than just little kids can fall out of a shopping cart. Stacking multiple items too high cannot only make you an impaired shopping cart driver but also, puts you at risk to being hit with a heavy item sustaining a head or other bodily injury. This is the perfect time to mention that texting while driving a shopping cart is a bad idea during this busy time of year as well.
Trampled: Millions of hard working people begin their holiday shopping on Black Friday and each year hundreds of people are trampled in the mad rush. Retailers appear to be extending deals, opening earlier and increasing security to try and avoid this hazard, but this risk is best to be avoided all together by staying away from the most crowded retailers.
How to Avoid Them
The holiday season should be filled with joy and happiness, not agony with a broken leg after a fall in an icy parking lot. Try following these few simple tips to increase your risk for holiday bliss and decrease your risk for a collision with a holiday hazard.
Tip #1: If you choose to embrace the Black Friday madness, have a plan with more than one option to decrease the anxiety that you might not get the only item in stock.
Tip #2: Park in well lit areas of the parking lot, avoiding areas that appear to be damaged.
Tip #3: Wear sturdy shoes and use all of your senses to avoid slipping in an unmarked wet spot, or falling on an uneven surface.
Tip #4: Enjoy your holiday shopping. A positive attitude may be the difference.
Tips #5: Consider Cyber Monday.
Happy Holidays from the law office of Reginald Davis