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Fireworks Injuries

Americans love to watch fireworks displays, especially on the Fourth of July. Unfortunately, as fun as this can be, fireworks are also dangerous. People can get hurt if the fireworks are defective or the person shooting them off is negligent.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were more than 10,200 fireworks injuries in the U.S. in 2022. Sadly, 11 people died from their injuries. The number of injuries seems to be rising each year.

While some people suffer injuries at a municipal fireworks display, many suffer injuries while using fireworks they purchased for home use. For example, in 2022, a Park Township, Michigan woman died after a fireworks explosion at home. Another man, Jared Maddox from Gilmer, Texas, died when his house exploded after fireworks projectiles assaulted his home.

Some of these injuries could have been prevented had the fireworks manufacturer ensured their products were safe. Many others were avoidable if the person lighting the fireworks wasn't negligent.

This section will discuss the types of injuries people suffer from fireworks. It also explains what to do if you're hurt while using fireworks.

Inherent Dangers of Fireworks

Not surprisingly, fireworks are inherently dangerous. Firework manufacturers are required to put warning labels on their products. This helps prevent injury and death. It's a federal crime for a company to sell fireworks without sufficient warnings.

According to the CPSC, the Federal Hazardous Substances Act requires that firework manufacturers comply with the following:

  • Consumer fireworks must contain warning labels about the hazards and function of fireworks
  • Fireworks sold for personal use must meet specific construction and performance standards

Unfortunately, even with these warnings, fireworks are still inherently dangerous. If fireworks hurt someone, they can sue the manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, and retailer under strict liability.

Fireworks and Serious Injuries

Young children are especially vulnerable to severe injuries caused by dangerous fireworks. However, you're at risk whether you are setting it off or it's a bystander at a 4th of July parade or public fireworks display.

Some of the most common injuries linked to fireworks include:

  • Burning
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss/amputation of an appendage or limb
  • Eye injuries
  • Fireworks-related deaths

Furthermore, if a defective firework causes property damage and fires, the property occupants could be hurt or suffer significant financial loss.

Whether resulting from improper use or a product defect, fireworks-related injuries can be catastrophic.

Fireworks Safety Tips and Injury Prevention

If you plan on using fireworks, you must take precautions to keep you and your family safe. Some safety tips that help avoid injury include:

  • Always follow the directions on the fireworks package, and never modify or experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Only let children or young adults use fireworks with supervision. Even seemingly harmless fireworks, such as sparklers, still burn at high temperatures if misused.
  • Only set off fireworks outdoors, away from houses and other fire hazards, such as tall grass, dry leaves, and other fireworks.
  • Do not try to reignite used or malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies. Soak any used or misfired fireworks before discarding them. This helps prevent fires or accidental ignitions.

Seeking Damages After a Fireworks Accident

If you or your family member suffer a fireworks-related injury, you may have a claim for damages. It depends on whether your injuries occurred at home or at a town-wide July Fourth celebration.

When you first meet with your attorney, they will help determine which parties to name in your lawsuit. They will also help assess your damages.

Defective Products and Manufacturer Liability

Companies who fail to design or manufacture their products correctly open themselves to liability. You may have a legal claim if you're hurt using defective fireworks. There are four main types of fireworks defects. This includes when the fireworks are:

  • Fired in the wrong direction
  • Overcharged
  • Detonated prematurely
  • Sold with warnings that are not clear and legible

Even when used properly, fireworks are dangerous explosives that can cause severe injuries. However, the likelihood of a firework injury can become magnified by manufacturing or design defects in the fireworks or a lack of adequate warnings.

Imagine that you buy fireworks for an Independence Day celebration. You warn your friends and family to stand 20 or 30 feet away from the fireworks to be safe. However, the unit detonates within seconds of lighting it. You and your guests end up with burns and lacerations. You suffer third-degree burns and facial disfigurement. What should you do?

Your attorney can argue that the manufacturer was negligent. Had they made the fireworks correctly, they wouldn't have detonated early.

Negligence for Improper Use of Fireworks

Most injuries caused by fireworks result from consumer misuse. Common mistakes include:

  • Lighting the fireworks improperly
  • Lighting the fireworks too close to other people
  • Lighting the fireworks while holding them in one's hand

Injured spectators may be able to hold the person or company setting off the fireworks liable for negligence. Even the person or entity that organized the show may be responsible for not supervising such an activity.

If you have suffered a firework injury, contact a product liability lawyer to learn more about your legal options. A product liability attorney will be able to evaluate your claim and help determine the best course of action.

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help?

If you or a loved one are injured while using fireworks, you may have a claim for damages. The same is true if you're hurt while watching fireworks at a friend's house or in town. Once you receive medical attention for your injuries, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Most attorneys offer a free case evaluation to firework injury victims. You can discuss your case and find out how best to proceed. Visit FindLaw's attorney directory to find a lawyer near you.

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