Can You Sue if Injured by Fireworks?

Fireworks are popular in celebrations worldwide, offering colorful and stunning displays. However, they can lead to unexpected accidents and injuries. 

Fireworks Lawsuits

Injuries from fireworks may result in legal action due to the harm caused, and liability can be given to multiple parties involved. Various types of injuries can occur as a result of fireworks accidents, leading to potential legal consequences.

Fireworks injuries may vary in severity from minor burns to amputations or death. Factors influencing the severity of injuries include the type of fireworks and proximity to the explosion.

Legal action in fireworks incidents may involve multiple parties being held responsible. Manufacturers or distributors may be liable if defects are found in the product. Retailers can face legal consequences for selling fireworks without proper safety warnings or to minors. Individuals hosting fireworks displays could be responsible if safety precautions are not taken or local laws are disregarded.

Spectators injured by fireworks due to negligence may have legal recourse to file lawsuits for compensation. This includes situations where fireworks are set off near others without proper safety precautions, leading to injuries.

Injuries caused by fireworks can result in legal action, with liability potentially falling on manufacturers, distributors, retailers, event organizers, and individuals who act negligently. Injured parties may be able to seek compensation for their losses.

An estimated 122,912 firework-related injuries were treated in emergency departments within the US from 2012 to 2022. [1]

Fireworks Lawsuits

Common Injuries Caused by Fireworks

The upper extremities (41.62%), head/neck (36.40%), and lower extremities (13.78%) are the most commonly injured regions. [1]

Fireworks are a popular form of entertainment during celebrations and holidays, particularly during events like New Year’s Eve. However, they also pose significant risks and can cause various injuries. Here are some common injuries caused by fireworks:

  • Burns: Burn injuries are common in firework-related accidents. They can range from minor surface burns to severe third-degree burns. Explosions or sparks from fireworks can cause burns on exposed body parts like the hands, face, and eyes. These burns are painful, may need medical treatment, and can result in long-term scarring or disfigurement.
  • Eye Injuries: Fireworks can cause serious eye injuries, including permanent blindness. Common injuries include corneal abrasions, foreign objects in the eye, retinal detachment, and severe chemical burns. High-speed projectiles and sparks from fireworks have the potential to cause serious eye injuries.
  • Hand and Finger Injuries: Injuries to hands and fingers are common when handling fireworks or being too close to an explosion. These injuries can include burns, cuts, puncture wounds, fractures, and even amputations. Firework explosions can cause severe damage, shattering bones and harming soft tissues. Treatments may involve surgery, rehabilitation, and can result in long-term disability and loss of hand function.
  • Ear Injuries: The loud noise produced by fireworks can cause damage to the delicate part of the ear, leading to temporary or permanent hearing loss. The explosion of fireworks can rupture the eardrum, resulting in significant pain, hearing impairment, and potential balance issues.
  • Facial Injuries: Firework-related injuries commonly affect the face due to it’s proximity to the source of the explosion. These injuries can range from burns and lacerations to fractures and soft tissue damage, as well as eye injuries. Treatment for these injuries may involve surgical intervention and can have lasting physical and psychological effects.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): Fireworks can cause concussive forces when detonated unexpectedly or while in someone’s hand. This can result in traumatic brain injuries, ranging from mild concussions to severe brain damage. Symptoms may include loss of consciousness, memory impairment, cognitive difficulties, and long-term disability.
  • Psychological Trauma: Firework accidents can lead to psychological trauma, especially in cases where severe injuries occur or witnessing traumatic incidents. Individuals may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or experience anxiety, depression, or panic disorders as a result of these traumatic events.
  • Fires: Fireworks accidents have the potential to cause fires, which can result in significant property damage, risk lives, and cause severe injuries such as burns or smoke inhalation.
Common Injuries Caused by Fireworks

Legal Avenues for Seeking Compensation

Men experienced firework injuries at more than double the rate of women (4.90 versus 2.25 cases per 100,000 people). [1]

When you experience a fireworks injury, you may want to contact an injury lawyer to learn about your legal options.  Here is a basic overview of how compensation may be sought:

  • Personal Injury Lawsuit: You can pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the party responsible for the fireworks, such as the event organizer or manufacturer. This lawsuit will aim to prove their negligence or fault in the incident and seek compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
  • Product Liability Lawsuit: If the injuries were caused by a defective firework or fireworks equipment, you may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer. This type of lawsuit typically involves proving that the product was unreasonably dangerous or defective and that the defect directly caused your injuries.
  • Premises Liability Claim: If the firework incident occurred on someone else’s property, you may have a premises liability claim against the property owner or manager. This claim asserts that they failed to maintain a safe environment or adequately warn you of the dangers associated with the fireworks.
  • Workers’ Compensation: If you were injured while working with or around fireworks as part of your job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation provides coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, disability benefits, rehabilitation expenses, and other related costs.

Who Can Be Held Liable for a Firework Injury?

The responsibility for ensuring safety measures, appropriate staff training, and compliance with fireworks regulations lies with the individuals or organizations in charge of planning and organizing the fireworks display, who can be held liable for any failures in these areas.

Pyrotechnicians can also be held liable for injuries caused by their actions or negligence, such as improper handling of fireworks or failure to secure explosives. Moreover, If a third-party contractor was involved in the installation or operation of the fireworks display, they may be held liable if their negligence contributed to the injury.

In cases of injury caused by defective fireworks or fireworks equipment, the manufacturer, distributor, or seller of the product may be held liable under product liability laws. This can include situations where the firework malfunctions, explodes unexpectedly or contains dangerous components.

Lastly, property owners or managers may be held responsible for accidents involving fireworks if they fail to ensure a safe environment or warn visitors of potential risks.

Who Can Be Held Liable for a Firework Injury?

Proving Negligence in Firework Displays

Proving negligence in fireworks displays typically involves demonstrating that the responsible party failed to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm or injury. To establish a claim of negligence, the following elements must generally be proven:

  • Duty of Care:
    The first step in determining liability is establishing whether the responsible party had a duty of care towards the injured individual. This duty of care is typically determined by factors such as the relationship between the parties or the situation’s circumstances. For example, organizers involved in fireworks displays are responsible for ensuring the safety of spectators and those in proximity to the event.
  • Breach of Duty:
    The next step is to demonstrate that the responsible party breached their duty of care. This involves showing that they failed to meet the expected standard of care that a reasonable person or professional in their position would have exercised. In the context of firework displays, this may include inadequate safety measures, poor supervision, insufficient training, or failure to follow established guidelines and regulations.
  • Causation:
    It must be proven that the breach of duty was the direct cause of the fireworks injury. Evidence such as eyewitness testimonies, expert opinions, and medical reports can help establish this connection.
  • Damages:
    The final element is demonstrating that the injured party suffered actual damages as a result of the negligence. These damages can include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, disability, emotional distress, or property damage.

To prove negligence in fireworks displays, gathering evidence is imperative. This may involve obtaining witness statements, photographs or videos of the incident, firework permits or safety protocols, expert opinions on industry standards and best practices, and any documentation related to the event’s planning and execution.

If you’ve been injured in a firework-related accident due to negligence and would like to consult an injury attorney to know your options, book a free consultation with Goldberg & Loren today!

Source:

[1] Winicki, N. M., Waldrop, I., Orozco, J. V., Novak, D., & Sheets, N. W. (2023, July 4). The epidemiology of firework-related injuries in the US, 2012–2022. Injury Epidemiology. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40621-023-00446-5

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