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Fireworks injuries: When festive becomes fatal

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2023 | Personal Injury

A holiday celebration almost does not feel as special without a grand fireworks display. But improper use of fireworks can quickly extinguish all the high-spirited fun.

In 2021 alone, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported nine fireworks fatalities and approximately 11,500 fireworks injuries rushed to U.S. hospital emergencies. Burns on fingers, ears, and face are the most common injuries. Other severe injuries include loss of hearing and vision.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services provides safety tips and warns about the risks of setting off fireworks. But if you still end up hurt from a pyrotechnics show, can you recover compensation?

Who’s liable for the explosive consequences?

When injured, you can be the person mounting the fireworks or a bystander watching in admiration. Once this happens, you must know that you can file a claim for the following reasons:

  • Product liability: You may go after the individual who sold you the product, the manufacturer or anyone within the supply chain. You must prove that the fireworks you set off had reckless design and defects.
  • Premises liability: You may sue the property owner or homeowner if you set off the fireworks within their premises. This kind of lawsuit considers the given circumstances, such as the location’s condition when the accident happened and if there are adequate warning signs addressing the dangers of the place.

Under a Wisconsin statute, there is a regulation of fireworks. You must first obtain a valid user’s permit to legally use fireworks, such as Roman candles, bottle rockets, firecrackers, and mortars. But the statute also lists specific devices with corresponding allowable features – sparklers not more than 36 inches long and toy snakes with no mercury, among others – which are legal even without a permit.

If you violate the state’s laws, you could face a fine of up to $1,000. In more severe cases, the police can file an injunction tagging your use of fireworks as a nuisance. If charged, your punishment can be as much as $10,000 in fine and nine (9) months in prison.

Upholding festive traditions cautiously

Fireworks are fun, as long as they are legal and safe. If you are injured even after following safety guidelines, the immediate thing to do is seek medical attention. After which, have a legal representative help you prove liability and recover damages for your personal injury claim.