Seventy-four percent of all firework-related injuries occur in the weeks before and after the Fourth of July holiday, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. As stated in their 2021 report, thirty-two percent of those injured were burned.
What is considered a fireworks accident?
Between 2006 and 2021, there was a twenty-five percent increase in injuries due to fireworks. MedicineNet describes firework injuries as “an injury from a device for producing a striking display by the combustion of explosive or flammable compositions”. Firework accidents occur when consumers do not follow appropriate fire safety measures, manufacturers use dangerous components, and when firework show presenters do not take the proper precautions when using these common combustibles.
What are the statistics on firework injuries?
According to the National Library of Medicine, emergency visits for firework-related injuries are increasing in the United States. The largest number of firework-related deaths occurred during the pandemic lockdown of 2020, with the CPSC reporting twenty-six deaths total. Twelve of those deaths occurred because of firework misuse. That same year, approximately 15,600 individuals were hospitalized for firework-related injuries, according to a Consumer Product Safety report.
In 2021, firework-related deaths fell to nine, with six of the nine deaths attributed to firework misuse. 11,500 individuals were admitted to the hospital in 2021 because of injuries sustained while using fireworks. Patients between the ages of twenty to twenty-four had the highest rate of emergency room visits to treat firework-related injuries that year. About thirty-one percent of the fireworks selected and tested were reported by the CPSC to contain “non-compliant components, including fuse violations, the presence of prohibited chemicals, and pyrotechnic materials overload”.
What to do if injured from fireworks?
When an individual is injured by a firework, they must first conclude if the injury is a minor or major burn. Onlinefirstaid recommends an ambulance be called when any burn is larger than the victim’s hand. Though deep burns of any size require immediate hospital treatment.
For minor burns, an individual should hold the affected area under cold running water for a minimum of ten minutes or treat the injury with a cold, wet, compress. If the burned area is on the hand, a burn victim should insert the injured hand into a sterile plastic bag as the affected area continues to cool.
Once the burned area has cooled, an individual may spread petroleum jelly on the wound before covering it with a sterile non-stick bandage. An individual may also choose to take over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
Individuals should keep the area protected from the sun as it heals. The American Academy of Dermatology Association suggests using protective clothing or a broad-spectrum sunscreen on the area once the burn has healed to reduce the chances of scarring and redness.
There is a greater risk of infection, hypothermia, and shock associated with severe burns. If an individual is severely burned they should immediately instruct another individual to call emergency services (9-1-1) for them. While awaiting the ambulance, the victim or their helper should begin to cool the burn by placing it under running water, while keeping the injured individual warm, dry, and as calm as possible. Any restrictive clothing or jewelry around the affected area should be removed, as the area could begin to swell. If the victim begins to show signs of shock, they should be helped to the ground to lie on their back and their legs should be elevated. The burned individual or helper should never touch, use ointments or creams, use adhesive bandages, or puncture any blisters on or around the wound.
Fireworks and Product Liability
In cases where fireworks malfunction, individuals may be able to hold manufacturers, importers of foreign fireworks, or local retailers accountable for their negligence and recover damages. Each of these entities has a duty to ensure that the product is in safe working order before the firework makes it into the hands of consumers. With the majority of fireworks being produced in China and then imported into the United States, a burn victim’s only recourse is often to recover damages from a firework stand operator. In a product liability lawsuit, an individual must prove that their injuries were a result of a defect in the product in order to win compensation.
Spectators Injured Due To Negligence
When a spectator is injured during a firework show, they may be eligible to receive compensation from the company or individual responsible for igniting the fireworks if they are able to prove negligence. An individual, company, or city who organized the performance or hired a fireworks company may also be held liable if it is found that they did not provide the appropriate supervision and planning. Each entity mentioned has a duty to protect bystanders from injury. When they are found negligent in their duty, an injured spectator is entitled to compensation.
Find a Firework Injury Attorney with Experience
Firework-related injuries may happen to the individual handling the fireworks or to a spectator. In both cases, an individual may be able to receive compensation for their injuries. Several legal theories may apply depending on a burn victim’s individual circumstances. This is why immediate assistance from an experienced firework injury attorney is imperative.
For over thirty years, the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Panter, Panter, and Sampedro have been working alongside clients to ensure they get the justice, recovery, and compensation they deserve. To speak to an experienced trial attorney, call (305) 662-6178.