For most Americans, the Fourth of July is one of the best days of the year. It has become synonymous with fireworks, barbecue and having fun with family and friends. This post isn’t another safety lecture, because I know you’ve heard the warnings, maybe so often you’ve become immune. I just want to provide some useful information for those out there who will be injured, and according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, there will be many. 230 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday. That doesn’t even take into account swimming pool accidents or other injuries. Accidents can happen even with lots of people around, take a moment to read up on keeping your kids safe around the pool this summer.
Medical treatment is always your first priority
As with any serious injury, the most important thing to do is get immediate medical treatment. Your health and safety are the most important thing and waiting to see if things get worse, or being afraid to report an injury that took place while using illegal fireworks can lead to even more serious consequences.
Who is responsible for firework injuries
The question of responsibility is a complicated one. First off, most fireworks are illegal in New York State, although Putnam and Dutchess Counties have allowed the use of sparklers since 2015. People tend to think of sparklers as harmless, allowing even small children to use them, but in reality, sparklers are responsible for a high number of injuries each year.
Accidents can happen no matter how careful you are, but even if you’ve taken precautions, it’s possible that another person’s actions may result in injury to you or your family. When a firework accident does happen, often it’s the result of carelessness, intoxication or intentional actions. When someone is injured, those who set off the fireworks can be held financially liable as well as in some cases charged criminally. There could be other responsible parties as well, such as the homeowner or the person who provided the illegal fireworks.
Fireworks are dangerous and the law requires extreme care
The probability of an accident occurring when using fireworks is higher than in other types of activities. Just as with any dangerous situation, such as handing a firearm or driving a car, it’s important to exercise extreme care. While each incident is unique, there are some types of accidents that would generally fall under the category of careless or negligent. A few examples are:
- Pointing fireworks at others
- Using fireworks designed for professionals, rather than consumers
- Lighting a firework in glass or other type of container that can explode and shoot dangerous pieces toward others
- Allowing children to play with fireworks.
What if the accident was caused by a friend?
In cases where an accident is caused by a friend or at a friend’s house, you may feel it’s not right to take legal action or get him in trouble. Of course, these issues are very touchy, but it’s important to remember that personal injury laws are not a way to punish the “guilty” party, but to ensure that the injured party has the care they need and that the victim is compensated for any losses related to the accident.
Your future depends on making an informed decision
Talking to a lawyer is the only way to fully understand your rights and make an informed decision. Whether the accident occurs at a public fireworks show or in a friend’s backyard, your future or your child’s future just might depend on the decisions you make now. Seek the necessary medical treatment and make sure you’re ok, but before agreeing to anything, speak to a qualified attorney. You’ll be glad you did.