Who is Responsible for Illegal Firework Injuries?

fireworks in orlandoNothing marks the arrival of Independence Day quite like the sudden appearance of explosive-infused toys that evoke the sounds of wartime when ignited. With the Fourth of July just around the corner, local grocery and convenience stores are stocking up on sparklers, snaps, firecrackers, and fountains while seasonal fireworks shops (which sell the good stuff) are sprouting like weeds across shopping centers and roadside stands. As fireworks fans begin to compile their collections of explosives, now is the time to start practicing fireworks safety. 

Florida Fireworks Laws

Technically, most fireworks sold for consumer consumption are illegal in Florida. A “firework” is defined as anything that leaves the ground or explodes — the stuff sold in grocery stores and gas stations, like sparklers and snappers, don’t count. By this definition, it seems that thousands of Floridians break the law each year when July 4th rolls around; how can this be?

There is an exception to the fireworks ban. Fireworks enthusiasts who shop at Phantom Fireworks, TNT Fireworks, Sky King, and other exclusive fireworks dealers must sign a legal document that states they are familiar with the state’s fireworks laws and are purchasing the fireworks for agricultural uses. Unbeknownst to many who sign this form, lying on the form is a misdemeanor criminal offense punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of $1,000; yet, surprisingly, very few fireworks-related arrests ever take place. More often than not, people end up in court over a civil issue like a firework-induced injury. 

How to Be Safe Around Fireworks

In 2016, Insurance Journal reported 11,000 fireworks-related injuries and 4 deaths. Of the thousands of injuries, 7,600 were treated in an emergency room. As devices that rely on heat and gunpowder to function, there are many ways people become injured when handling fireworks. 

When people get hurt by fireworks, their hands and fingers suffer the most. They also suffer injuries to their heads, faces, ears, and legs. Nearly 70% of all injuries from fireworks are burns. Additionally, the Consumer Products Safety Commission found that, of the 11,000 people hurt in 2016, 31% were children younger than 15.

Some firework safety tips are:

  • Always follow the directions on the package of fireworks and don’t modify fireworks or attempt to make homemade fireworks
  • Always supervise children handling fireworks
  • Always set fireworks off outside and away from houses, grass, dry leaves, and anything else that may catch on fire
  • Soak used fireworks or duds in water before disposing of them
  • Have water handy for emergencies
  • Do not try to relight fireworks that did not go off the first time

Your Firework Injury Might be a Product Liability Claim

Often, consumers get hurt because they don’t follow the instructions on the fireworks package. At other times, the fireworks themselves are defective, which may give way to a product liability lawsuit. At public fireworks shows, injuries can occur when the organizers of the show fail to follow safety measures. If you were injured due to another party’s negligence, you have the right to pursue a personal injury claim

Parties you may be able to hold liable for your firework injuries include:

  • The manufacturer of the fireworks
  • The importer of foreign-made fireworks
  • The retail seller of foreign-made fireworks
  • The organizer of a fireworks display 
  • The city that hired the fireworks company for a fireworks display

Due to the inherently harmful nature of fireworks, the injured party in a product injury claim must prove that the manufacturer knowingly sold a defective firework or acted carelessly when they designed the product. It’s difficult to pinpoint at which point in the supply chain the product became defective, which is why the injured party may need to file a strict liability claim that shows the firework was unreasonably dangerous. Ultimately, your goal is to have the at-fault company cover your medical bills and other damages.

Fireworks Injury Attorneys in Orlando 

Don’t allow an injury to suck the life out of your holiday. At The Umansky Law Firm, our team of personal injury attorneys in Orlando can represent your injury claim so you can recover the compensation you need. Our lawyers are members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and have more than 100 years of experience litigating many types of injury claims. 

Get started on your fireworks injury claim by calling (407) 228-3838 or completing our contact form. Our lawyers are available 24/7 to discuss your case.