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Black Friday Means Injury, and Even Death

If you’re planning on braving the crowds on Black Friday because you have your eye on a few special items, you might want to reconsider. According to the National Retail Federation, you’ll be joined by an estimated 114.6 million Americans — more than 50% of the U.S. adult population. That’s a lot of people to fight over children’s toys, big screen TV’s, smart phones and other holiday sale items.


Every year, without fail, the stampede of people pushing their way through the doors of retail stores and arguing over products leads to some form of injury. You’ve probably seen video footage of fistfights breaking out and people getting trampled on Black Friday. Maybe you’ve even witnessed it. While there’s no doubt that injuries often take place on the day after Thanksgiving, has anyone ever died due to Black Friday chaos?

According to a website that tracks Black Friday-related deaths and injuries each year, there have been 44 separate incidents over the past 12 years in the U.S., resulting in 108 injuries and 11 deaths. On average, that equates to about nine injuries and one death per year. 2011 saw a spike in injuries, partly due to several in-store pepper spraying incidents.

According to data from Black Friday Death Count, around 20% of injuries occur at retail store entrances, as the doors open and customers push and shove their way to the front. Another 11% of incidents occur outside the store, in parking lots and on packed Black Friday roads. If Walmart is on your list this year, be aware that 70% of Black Friday-related incidents occur there.

Overall, the most common causes of Black Friday incidents, in order, include stampede, pepper spray, shooting, car accident, brawl, stabbing, robbery mishandling merchandise. Of the 11 Black Friday deaths, six were attributed to shootings.

There’s certainly something about Black Friday that brings out all the crazies. If you plan on doing some shopping this year, it might be helpful to remember that most retail stores also offer deals online.