Can I File a Lawsuit for Firework Injuries?
North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Explain Firework Accident Liability
Statistics published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) show that an average of 230 people are hospitalized with firework-related injuries each day in the weeks surrounding the Fourth of July. While fireworks are synonymous with holidays and special events, they may also cause catastrophic injuries and wrongful death if handled or manufactured incorrectly. Depending on the circumstances, the manufacturer, retailer and/or importer of these products could be liable for firework accidents. Negligent companies hosting special events may cause injuries and deaths to audience members. Fireworks may also contain manufacturing defects that cause injuries or deaths. In these cases, it may be possible for victims of fireworks accidents to seek compensation for their injuries or loss.
If you or a loved one suffered firework injuries, then our North Carolina personal injury lawyers can help you explore your legal options for recovering compensation. At Riddle & Brantley we have the resources and experience to help victims of negligence recover compensation for through a product liability claim.
Our North Carolina Attorneys Have Experience with Firework Accidents
In a successful firework accident case, our law firm represented the estate of a man whose death resulted from the negligent actions of a firework company. In 2009, four East Coast Pyrotechnics, Inc. workers were killed and one was severely injured when nearly 700 pounds of fireworks exploded during set up of the fireworks. The company was to put on a 4th of July fireworks display on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina. However, according to a federal investigation, an explosion occurred when the workers began preparing the fireworks inside the truck. It blamed the explosion on a small electric igniter being pushed into the fireworks triggering a larger explosion inside the truck.
This case was especially important due to the fact that if these victims were determined to be employees, then the state’s workers compensation laws would have applied. Compensation would then depend on the workers’ income, a small amount in this case. However, our attorneys argued that the victims were not employees and that the company’s conduct was grossly negligent. Gene Riddle and Jonathan Smith handled this case in the appellate courts. In the end, the case settled under a confidentiality agreement in favor of our clients just a few weeks prior to trial. North Carolina personal injury attorney Gene Riddle served as the primary lawyer for this case and handled depositions, motions and appellate briefs to the appellate courts.
What Are Common Injuries Caused by Fireworks Accidents?
A CPSC report discovered that emergency rooms treated 10,500 firework-related injuries in 2014. Of these, 7,000 occurred between June 20 and July 20. Common injuries caused by fireworks include:
- Burn injuries. The CPSC report found that 54 percent of the 10,500 injuries treated in emergency rooms involved burns. In some cases, victims received third-degree burns.
- Fractures and sprains. Victims of firework accidents may suffer sprains and broken bones caused by blast injuries.
- Loss of limbs. Blasts from firework explosions can mutilate the limbs, requiring surgeons to perform amputations. In other cases, the explosion may directly cause loss of limb.
- Blindness. According to the CPSC, 19 percent of firework accidents cause eye injuries. The CPSC claims contusions, lacerations and foreign objects were responsible for a majority of injuries involving the eyes. Consequently, firework accident victims can suffer permanent blindness.
- Wrongful death. According to the CPSC, fireworks caused 11 nonoccupational deaths during 2014.
According to the CPSC, 74 percent of injuries involved men and 34 percent of all victims were between the ages of 25 and 44.
Who Is Responsible for Firework Accidents?
Depending on the situation, it may be possible to hold multiple parties accountable for firework-related injuries. Firework accidents may be caused by:
- Firework companies. Companies that put on pyrotechnics or fireworks shows may be held liable for causing accidents. In 2013, more than 30 people suffered injuries at an Independence Day fireworks show in California after a launching platform tipped over. This sent fireworks directly into the crowd.
- Fireworks manufacturers or retailers. Fireworks may contain manufacturing or design defects that adversely affect product safety. For example, a defective fuse may cause fireworks to explode early and without warning. Depending on the circumstances, it may then be possible to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer and the retailer who sold the fireworks.
What Are North Carolina Firework Laws?
According to North Carolina law, an unlicensed person cannot purchase and use fireworks that explode, spin, leave the ground or fly through the air. However, legal fireworks may include: snakes, glow worms, noisemakers, smoke devices, sparklers and string poppers.
To obtain a fireworks license in North Carolina, you must first submit an application to the Fire Marshal then attend a class and pass an exam. This kind of license allows you to shoot outdoor fireworks and use indoor pyrotechnics. Violations of this law may result in misdemeanor criminal charges. Generally, this is punishable by a fine up to $500 and/or imprisonment for up to six months.
Firework Injuries? Contact Our NC Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation
The experienced North Carolina personal injury lawyers at Riddle & Brantley work relentlessly to achieve the fair compensation that firework accident victims deserve. When firework accidents occur, it can instantly change someone’s life. Injuries sustained from another person’s careless actions can have devastating effects on you and your family. You may be eligible to receive compensation for hospital bills, lost income, funeral expenses and property damage, as well as pain and suffering.
With locations in Goldsboro, Jacksonville, Raleigh and Kinston, our legal team can represent fire work accident victims across North Carolina. If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a firework accident, then our attorneys can explain your legal options. For a free consultation with one of our attorneys, complete our online case evaluation form or call (800) 525-7111.