July 4th is just around the corner, and millions of Americans plan to celebrate by watching professional fireworks displays or with consumer-grade fireworks.
It’s estimated that over 11,000 people injured by fireworks each and every year. The majority of injuries are caused by user error (including in professional displays), but in some cases, the proximate cause of such an incident can be traced down to defectively-produced or otherwise faulty/unsafe fireworks.
If you’ve been injured in a fireworks accident that you feel was caused by a product defect or negligence on behalf of another person, you may very well be owed compensation for your injuries and related monetary losses. These claims can be notoriously difficult to prove, which is why our advice is to always explore your potential legal options with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Most personal injury law firms offer free consultations by phone or email, and we urge you to take advantage of this free advice. They can tell you whether or not they feel you have a valid claim, as well as your chances of winning. If they feel as though your case has merit, most attorneys will agree to pursue your claim on a no-win, no-fee basis.
Firework Recall Hits Multiple States
Just last week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a safety recall involving a certain brand of fireworks produced in China and sold in multiple states (including Wisconsin, Illinois, Vermont and Ohio) due to a product defect which has the potential to cause severe burn injuries. The general public is therefore being asked to return this brand of firework in order to get a full refund.
The fireworks in question come in a red, white and blue, include the “TNT” logo, and have the name “AMMO SMOKE” written across them. Officials from the CPSC have issued a public notice alerting the public that these fireworks can explode shortly after being lit, and that they should check and see if the UPC “027736036561” appears on the packaging. If you are in possession of these recalled fireworks, please contact America Promotional Events at 1-800-243-1189 to get a full refund, and DO NOT use the product.
Unfortunately in most situations, certain fireworks are only discovered to be defective or unsafe after multiple reports of injuries, and usually long after Independence Day.
Injuries Caused by Unsafe Fireworks
Fireworks can cause burns and injuries any part of the body, but most-frequently involve the hands, fingers, face, and eyes.
While firework injures occur to people of all ages, 35% of all injuries occur to children aged 0-14.
Surprisingly, almost 40% of all fireworks-related injuries are caused by sparklers and other small-scale consumer-grade firecrackers.
Who’s Responsible for Firework Injuries?
If your injuries were caused by negligence on behalf of a professional pyrotechnic company or another consumer, you can likely hold those responsible liable for your damages through a negligence-based personal injury claim.
If your injuries were caused by a defective, malfunctioning, or inherently unsafe firework, you may be able to recover money damages through a product liability claim against the manufacturer (or in some cases, the retailer). Products can be defective in three ways:
- Fireworks should come with precautions and directions on how they should be lit, and this literature should be clear and legible to all. Failing to provide adequate warning labels and instructions could be considered a defect by way of marketing.
- Fireworks which do not work as designed due to a manufacturing error or oversight are considered manufacturer defects.
- Fireworks which were not necessarily “defective,” but are still inherently unsafe as designed may be considered defective by design.
When a product is released to market which fails in one of these categories and someone is injured as a result, they open themselves up to liability. Manufacturers have a legal duty to provide a safe product, and you as a consumer have every right to hold them responsible for their negligence.
These kinds of injuries can be traumatic and often lead to disfiguring scars, amputation of the fingers, loss of eyesight, as well as structure fires. If your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, you have every right to hold them accountable.
Questions? Call us today at 1-877-659-2580 for a free consultation.
Fireworks Safety Tips
- Never light fireworks in an enclosed area.
- Do not let children light or play with fireworks.
- Always have an adult supervising if children are nearby.
- Light fireworks away from yourself, other people, houses, and brush.
- Light only one firework at a time, and move away quickly.
- NEVER attempt to re-light or pick up fireworks which failed to ignite.
- Don’t use glass containers to hold fireworks, as glass can easily explode.
- Always keep a bucket of water and/or a water hose nearby.
For more tips, see the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s page on “Fireworks Safety: 3-Step Guide to a Safer Celebration.”