Each July 4th, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured while using consumer fireworks. Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks – devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death.
Recommended Safety Tips
- Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
- Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
- A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
- Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
- Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
- Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
- Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
- Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
- Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
- FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
- Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
And let’s not forget the safety of our pets!
- Don’t bring your pets to a fireworks display, even a small one.
- If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to the sound.
- Make sure your pet has an identification tag, in case it runs off during a fireworks display.
- Never shoot fireworks of any kind (consumer fireworks, sparklers, fountains, etc.) near pets.
Your Legal Rights Regarding a Firework Injury
Whether a spectator at a firework show gone wrong or the user of a malfunctioning firework, victims may be able to recover damages for their injuries. Depending on the circumstances of the firework injury, a number of legal theories may apply.
Injured spectators may be able to hold the person or company setting off the fireworks liable through negligence. Even the person or entity that organized the show – including cities that hire fireworks companies – may be liable for failing to properly supervise such the activity. Even though a city’s liability may be limited by state law, entities hiring fireworks companies still have a duty to protect bystanders from injuries. Cities can fail in fulfilling this duty and open themselves up to liability by allowing the use of illegal fireworks or by failing to obtain the proper permits.
When fireworks malfunction and cause injury, victims may be able to recover damages from the manufacturer, the importer of foreign-made fireworks, or the local retail seller. Because all of these entities have a duty to sell products that function properly, they may be liable for any injuries caused by a defective firework. However, the vast majority of fireworks are produced in China, so suing the local fireworks stand operator is often the only way for victims to recover damages. Even individuals who misuse fireworks may still be able to recover damages for their injuries if they can prove that a defect, rather than their negligent conduct, caused the injury.
The Indiana Personal Injury Attorneys at Glaser & Ebbs are skilled at representing clients and their family members injured in personal injury accidents. It often takes legal action to receive fair compensation in these cases. Contact Glaser & Ebbs to learn more about your legal rights and options.