Firework Accidents: When Harmless Fun Turns to Tragedy
Despite the fact that fireworks are illegal to varying degrees based on federal and state law as well as certain local ordinances, they are prevalent during many times of the year including holiday celebrations.
When you drive down any major highway in certain states, you often pass stands selling fireworks to the general public. These stands are often placed on the boundary between states or Indian reservations to take advantage of the more favorable laws in the state where the fireworks stand is located. These stands mean that dangerous fireworks end up in the hands of children, irresponsible users and others that then cause injury to innocent third parties. If you or a loved on has suffered serious injury in a fireworks accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your pyrotechnic injuries. At Montlick and Associates, our fireworks accident attorneys represent those who suffer serious injury or wrongful death throughout Georgia.
Both federal and Georgia law have prohibitions against fireworks designed to avoid injury, save lives and prevent property damage. Although the sales of the most dangerous types of fireworks are prohibited by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, they are prevalent during holidays and pose a serious risk of injury and even death. Any firecracker that contains more than 50 mg of explosive powder and any aerial firework with more than 130 mg of flash powder is banned under federal law. Generally speaking, Georgia State law bans the use of any fireworks that fly or explode, including roman candles, bombs, firecrackers, torpedoes, and skyrockets because of the danger they pose to users, bystanders, and property. The only fireworks allowed by consumers are certain sparklers, poppers, snappers, glow worms, and snakes.
In order for someone to display fireworks they must have paid $1,000 for an annual business license, carry liability and personal injury insurance by a Georgia insurance company, have a county permit, and be licensed in Georgia. These rules are not designed to ruin the fun and enjoyment that may be derived from fireworks, but they are designed to keep the public safe. Injuries caused by fireworks can cause blindness, 3rd degree burns, and permanent scarring or disfigurement. They also start fires that can be life threatening.
The CPSC reported two deaths and 9,000 injuries of individuals that ended up in the emergency room due to fireworks in 2009. Almost half of those injuries involved children 14 years and under. Many of these injuries are caused by the sale of banned or defective fireworks that are manufactured and sold by rogue companies that knowingly evade the legal prohibitions designed to protect consumers. Many children are injured by fireworks that are unreasonably dangerous to children but are sold by irresponsible vendors to inexperienced or underage users. Children are also injured by friends who are entrusted with dangerous fireworks by adults. Defective and malfunctioning fireworks that are put onto the market by fireworks manufacturers also cause firework-related injuries.
Statistics show the following trends for firework injuries:
- 900 injuries were caused by firecrackers
- 800 injuries were caused by sparklers
- 300 injuries were caused by rockets
- 1,400 injuries were to hands and fingers
- 1,000 injuries were to the eyes
- 900 injuries were to the legs
Danger to a child’s eyes and hearing are quite common and can result in permanent debilitating injuries. For those that suffer injuries to the eye, it is often due to flying debris that can result in blindness. If exposed to the loud noises at close enough proximity or for long enough periods, firework explosions can be loud enough to cause hearing loss or permanent tinnitus.
Though fireworks can be enjoyable, they pose a serious danger of injury to those of all ages. Skilled pyrotechnic professionals are hired to stage shows at events for a reason. It is because they are highly trained and can be pro-active about these potential dangers. These professionals also know what to do if there is an emergency situation to reduce the risk of an incident resulting in catastrophic or permanent injuries.
If you or someone close to you has been injured in a fireworks accident, it is important to seek out the advice of an attorney experienced in this field of personal injury law. You may have a right to financial compensation for your injuries through a product liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor or seller, and a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent user or a wrongful death case if fireworks cause a deadly fire. Our experienced Atlanta personal injury attorneys have been representing those injured by the negligence of others throughout Georgia for over 37 years. We employ our best efforts to help personal injury victims obtain the compensation that they need to rebuild their lives. Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys are committed to building a well-established reputation as the top personal injury law firm in Georgia.
Montlick and Associates is available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.