Firework Injury May be Caused by Negligence, Defect

fireworks.jpgThe Fourth of July is closely associated with celebratory explosions, also known as fireworks. Generally, those attending large-scale, public displays are safe from injury.

However, when individuals purchase these devices, there is a higher potential for danger. These is the possibility of misuse and failure to follow safe procedures. But beyond that, there is the risk of a product defect.

Defective fireworks are actually a bigger problem than many people realize. A 2009 report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission indicated half the imported fireworks shipments its workers had screened contained faulty fireworks.

In Florida, the Department of Health reported that just in 2005, there were more than 200 non-fatal fireworks related injuries treated in emergency room departments. Most of these injuries occurred at someone’s private home.

Some of the most common injuries included:

  • Upper extremity
  • Head, face and neck
  • Lower extremity
  • Torso
  • Traumatic brain injury

When the CPSC took on this issue in 2009, it was after hearing from many victims that their fireworks malfunctioned. In response, the agency teamed up with the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection to test more than 200 fireworks shipments – more than 97 percent of those from China. Astonishingly, they found 49 percent of those shipments contained fireworks that did not meet U.S. safety standards.

Fireworks are dangerous enough even when they are made properly. Knowing that people could do everything right, follow all the appropriate steps, and take all the necessary precautions – and still suffer or cause serious injury – is truly upsetting.

The most recent report by the CPSC indicates that in 2014, more than 10,000 people were injured and 11 people were killed by fireworks.

That same year, children under the age of 15 experienced the highest rate of injury. Parents apparently in some scenarios felt comfortable giving their teenagers powerful, explosive devices, including bottle rockets and sparklers. Although many people consider these products “safe,” these two types of fireworks alone accounted for nearly a quarter of all firework injuries.

In Florida, as in many jurisdictions, firework sales and use are supposed to be strictly limited to agricultural purposes. But the law, which requires a special permit to set off fireworks, in this state is fairly weak, and it’s rarely enforced. Even those who are caught by police are given a misdemeanor – and that’s only if the officers actually witness a person setting them off.

In cases where the fireworks were defective, resulting in injury, the path to compensation may be complicated. This is especially true because most fireworks are manufactured overseas. However, it is not only the manufacturer that may be targeted. A product liability lawsuit may also target the local distributor, the regional distributor, and the importer.

The Ferraro Law Firm handles claims resulting from defective medical products or dangerous pharmaceuticals. Call 1-800-275-3332 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami and Washington, D.C.

Additional Resources:
Don’t Let Fun with Fireworks Turn Tragic, June 26, 2015, Consumer Product Safety Commission

More Blog Entries:
Florida Supreme Court Clarifies Product Liability Jury Instructions, April 1, 2015, Florida Product Liability Attorney Blog

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