If Injured by Fireworks, Can You Sue?
Every year, fireworks injure thousands of people even though they are loved by many around the 4th of July season. This is mostly due to the fact that people completely ignore basic safety precautions when handling, but not always. In recent news, New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul was injured in a firework accident. He was reported to have suffered a hand injury Saturday night while he was attempting to light fireworks, which led to hospitalization. His hand will be intact, though doctors have worked to examine the hand for nerve damage and other issues relating to the incident. Accidents like this can severely impact anybody involved.
Although very large-scale firework-related disasters are a rare occurrence, suffering from an injury from one at home is much more common. Approximately 9,125 firework injuries occur every year, with an average of four deaths per year. So how does liability work in an injury case revolving around fireworks?
First, let’s look into the dangers of fireworks and how injuries may be prevented. The majority of injuries occurring from fireworks are caused by misuse of consumers. This could include anything from lighting the fireworks improperly to lighting them too closely to other people. Even when they are used properly, they are still dangerous explosives that can cause severe injury. An injury can become more likely when you involve manufacturing or design defects, or a lack of adequate warnings.
Improperly manufactured fireworks can explode prematurely before a user has made it a safe distance away. In some cases, a defective fuse may ignite the explosive powders in the firework in a way that the manufacturer did not intend. Fireworks such as bottle rockets, which are designed to soar through the air, could injure onlookers or hit nearby buildings and vehicles. Improper usage or product defects can cause catastrophic effects for people involved. Anything can happen ranging from loss of eyesight due to sparks and debris, severe lacerations caused by debris, and burns ranging from singes to third-degree.
When it comes to a malfunctioning firework, proving negligence can be a hard thing to do. This is mostly due to the fact that you aren’t always sure where in the supply chain the defect actually occurred. However, you can typically show that the fireworks had an unreasonably dangerous defect that caused you injury when the product was used in a way that it wasn’t intended to be used.
Injuries due to fireworks can sometimes be prevented. This can include following the directions on the fireworks packaging and also making sure to never modify or experiment with homemade fireworks. It is also important to remember: Never allow children to use fireworks without adult supervision. Only set off fireworks outdoors, do not try to reignite used or malfunctioning fireworks, and always keep a bucket on hand nearby to use in emergency situations.
Legal Rights Surrounding Firework Injury
Victims of firework injuries may be able to recover damages for their injuries. Injured spectators may be able to hold the person or company setting off the fireworks liable through negligence. Even the person or entity in charge of the show’s organization may be liable for failing to properly supervise the activity. Victims may also be able to recover damages from the manufacturer. However, it is important to keep in mind that many fireworks are produced in China overseas. Suing the local fireworks stand operator is often the only way for victims to recover any damages.
If you or a loved one has suffered a firework injury, it may be in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer. Speak to an attorney at MDL today for a free consultation and more information on your possible case.