A Fairfax County woman was awarded $4.75 million in damages for the injuries and financial losses she suffered after a fireworks mishap. The woman was left with severe burns, a concussion and lacerations from exploding shrapnel. The 2010 fireworks accident was just one of dozens that happen every summer during Fourth of July celebrations.
Considering that more than 10,000 firework-related injuries are reported every year, it’s important to keep some safety tips in mind before embarking on this summertime tradition.
How to celebrate 4th of July safely
Defective or malfunctioning fireworks can cause lasting harm to innocent consumers and bystanders, leaving victims with third-degree burns, perforated ear drums, brain injuries and loss of eyesight. For families that are planning on hosting a fireworks display this holiday, a few precautionary measures can mean the difference between a fun Fourth of July party and an emergency trip to the hospital.
Top 15 fireworks safety tips:
- Designate a wide open area for fireworks displays, such as a paved road or area of packed-down gravel
- Fireworks should never be lighted near buildings or vehicles
- Fireworks deployed on a grassy lawn are more prone to tip over
- Use protective eye wear when lighting fireworks
- Keep a bucket of water nearby in case of an emergency
- Douse used fireworks with water before discarding
- Keep onlookers a safe distance from lighting area – at least 200 feet away
- Make sure there is adequate adult supervision
- Light fireworks one at a time, ensuring that no body part is over the unit
- Never shoot fireworks in the direction of another person
- Never attempt to reignite a ‘dud’ firework that failed to light, instead douse it with water and discard
- Avoid fireworks that are sold in brown paper bags, which may be intended for professional use
- Check with local police to ensure fireworks are legal in your area
- Follow directions when lighting and use common sense
- Always light fuse with an arm’s distance, preferably with a fuse wick or safety lighter
Legal recourse following a fireworks injury
Whether you’re lighting a rocket, Roman candle or an aerial star shell, these explosive pyrotechnic devices can pose life-threatening risks when mishandled. In some instances, defective manufacturing can cause fireworks to misfire or explode prematurely.
According to a 2014 report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks were involved in 10,500 injuries treated in U.S. emergency rooms, and children under the age of 15 accounted for 35 percent of these accidents.
When a serious injury is caused by a defective firework, victims may be able to sue for compensation on theories of defective manufacturing or negligence. People who mishandle or misuse a firework and are harmed may seek damages if they can prove that a manufacturing defect was responsible for the injury.
If you or someone you love is harmed in fireworks accident, it’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can protect your rights. At Eisbrouch Marsh, our legal team advocates on behalf of those injured by defective products and negligence. We handle product liability and personal injury cases on a contingency-fee basis, so there are no upfront costs.
Call us at 201-342-5545 to schedule a free legal consultation with injury attorneys New Jersey trusts.
- CPSC.gov, fireworks safety http://www.cpsc.gov/pagefiles/113842/fireworkssafety.pdf
- Washington Post, Jury awards $4.75 million in Vienna fireworks accident http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/12/AR2010111206506.html
- CPSC.gov, Fireworks-Related Deaths, Emergency Department-Treated Injuries, and Enforcement Activities During 2014 http://www.cpsc.gov//Global/Research-and-Statistics/Injury-Statistics/Fuel-Lighters-and-Fireworks/Fireworks_Report_2014.pdf