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Victor C. Mitchener, Attorney

Joseph H. Downer, Attorney

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Are store owners liable for panic buying injuries?

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2023 | Personal Injury, Premises Liability

When supplies run dry, human’s fear of lack kicks in. When a scarcity mindset consumes you, you tend to make irrational decisions. And when you’re not thinking straight, accidents are more likely to happen.

A National Institutes of Health study reveals that panic buying generally has four primary themes – perceived threat or shortage, coping mechanisms to seek control, and fear of the unknown and missing out. These factors influencing your behavior combined with a store owner’s negligence may eventually cause severe injuries, or in the worst cases, death.

Possible causes for your panic buying injuries

North Carolina operates on a pure contributory negligence system for personal injury cases. This rule only means that the slightest hint, even at 1%, of fault you share could bar you from receiving damages for your injuries and other losses.

Thus, it’s imperative that you identify what exactly caused your shopping accident to adequately support your claim.

  • The store owner may have accepted customers beyond their store’s capacity. Crowded areas are susceptible to dangerous stampedes.
  • There may be an imbalanced employee-customer ratio. If the store’s employees cannot cater to every customer’s needs, hostility may ensue and escalate into physical violence.
  • Shoppers may mindlessly grab what they can, making a mess of the store. Liquids may spill and items may fall from shelves. This scenario may result in a slip, trip or fall incident.

These are catastrophic scenarios, which are preventable if the store owner commits to their duty of keeping shoppers safe within their premises. But if proven that the store owner delivered on their duty and another shopper actually caused you harm, you must consider the possibility of seeking liability against them instead.

Keep calm and shop safely

Nothing good ever comes from panic. While it’s understandable to worry, especially during a crisis, it will help to calm yourself down before proceeding to shop. But if you’re already in a chaotic shopping situation, securing legal representation to protect your interests and hold all possible parties responsible is paramount.