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What’s Wrong With Fireworks?

Posted on Friday, October 27th, 2017 at 7:25 pm    

The 4th of July is long gone and Texas has had far more than fireworks to worry about recently with the extreme flooding event caused by Hurricane Harvey, but it is worth looking at the dangers of firework injuries as their use is increasing every year and that means more injuries every year too.

Fireworks, especially well organized public displays like the ones on the 4th July are fun and spectacular but mistakes can mean serious injuries and even fatalities. The number of fireworks related injuries is in the region of 8,000 to 10,000 annually. Injuries from fireworks may be anything from minor burns to the skin to eye injuries, severe burns and death. The injury rate does not appear to be decreasing, mostly because the amount of fireworks being used is increasing every year. Many of these fireworks are imported. Statistics indicate a more than 700% increase in fireworks imports (mostly from China) over the last 30 years.

Causes of fireworks injuries

Most people enjoy publicly organized fireworks events although there are a large number of fireworks that are set off by individuals and families. The accidents that involve fireworks tend to fall into three main categories:

  • improper use by individual users;
  • manufacturing defects;
  • negligence on the part of organizers.

Of these three main reasons for fireworks related injuries, the first is by far the most common. The firework chosen is not faulty, but the person who ignites it fails to read the instructions carefully, points the firework in an unsafe direction, lights the firework in the wrong place, stands too close or places the firework in a container that it is not designed to be held in.

Injuries to children are very common. Sometimes it is because of negligence on the part of adults supervising and sometimes it is because children have got hold of the fireworks themselves or have been allowed to play with them unsupervised.

You, or a member of your family, may be injured by a neighbor’s fireworks that have been used incorrectly or unsafely. That’s when a personal injury claim may be in order if negligence on the part of the fireworks user has caused a significant injury.

Manufacturing defects are also common, especially if the batch of fireworks comes from a new unidentified source. Manufacturing defects in fireworks may cause unexpected, premature ignition or explosion that can cause serious injuries. It may be hard to take legal action against an overseas manufacturer, but a personal injury attorney may discover on doing some investigation that a U.S. distributor was aware of defects in fireworks that had been imported previously or had not translated warnings or instructions for use adequately so that firework use could go ahead safely.

Firework injuries at special events like public fireworks displays are much less common, but do happen occasionally. Because of the number of people at a public display and the number of fireworks, many of which are usually far more powerful than those used by individual families, there is always the chance that things can go wrong. Accidents can be caused by mistakes in organization, seating arrangements, failure to adapt to weather conditions, especially wind direction and lack of experience in the use of the fireworks used as well as the use of defective fireworks.

Being safe around fireworks

If you are going to use fireworks at home or in a public place you are responsible for choosing god quality products and their safe use. It is better to use a place where the fireworks are not going to impact on anyone else. Flat ground out in the open is best. Don’t use a container made of something that can shatter like a glass or ceramic jar. Prevent children from touching, lighting or standing or sitting too close to fireworks.

If you, or a family member has been injured by a firework and you think that it was a defective product, you should attempt to recover the spent firework and any evidence of where it came from. You may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer (if it was a U.S. manufacturer, or the distributor based on product liability law.

If the injury was caused by someone else’s negligence you may be able to claim compensation by filing a personal injury claim. Talk to an attorney at the Patino Law Office in McAllen, Texas.  You can contact the office for a consultation at 956-631-3535.