Fireworks are an entertaining American tradition. They can also be dangerous, even deadly. Estimates are that there are more than 9,000 fireworks-related injuries and several reported deaths each year in the United States.
Liability for fireworks injuries can sometimes be assessed against manufacturers – for defective or malfunctioning products or lack of proper warning labels -- or with those who use fireworks, either individuals or those operating large displays. One such case: the 2013 California show in which 39 people were injured when a defective shell exploded prematurely.
If you suffered a serious fireworks injury, such as an eye injury or severe burn, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. You should contact a fireworks lawyer at Kline & Specter, PC, where someone is on hand to help you 24/7. The law firm, with more than 50 attorneys, five of whom are also doctors, has expertise with personal injury cases, including those involving fireworks.
We obtained a substantial settlement for a 19-year-old man who suffered an injury to his testicles when an acquaintance lit fireworks without his knowledge and it exploded in his lap. Defendants in the case were the man who lit the fuse and the homeowner where the fireworks were being set off.
The chances of injuries due to fireworks may increase this year as more states are allowing their sale and use. Pennsylvania, for instance, has legalized the sale of certain consumer-grade fireworks such as Roman candles and bottle rockets. (Explosives like M-80s and cherry bombs are still prohibited. Also, individual municipalities may have their own restrictions.)
New Jersey has also legalized fireworks but only a small class of second-tier items that do not produce explosions, such as hand-held and ground-based sparklers as well as "novelties" such as snappers and party poppers.
This, of course, does not mean that revelers won’t be getting their hands on the more powerful class of fireworks in any state since there is a large “black market” for these explosives and missiles.
There are also strict rules in many states on how fireworks may be used. For instance, in Pennsylvania:
- Purchasers must be 18 years old.
- Fireworks may not be discharged from or toward a building or vehicle.
- Users must have permission from the owner of the property where the fireworks are to be discharged.
- Fireworks may not be used within 150 feet of an occupied building.
- Fireworks may not be used by those under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If you suffer a serious fireworks injury, consider contacting us at 215-772-1000 or by using the contact box on this page.