One of the great things about the summer in Florida is all of the amazing fireworks demonstrations. However, while there are beautiful professional pyrotechnics displays, many choose to buy fireworks and have their own backyard (or middle on the street) displays on the Fourth of July and many other days surrounding the holiday.
While this can be fun, when a person chooses to light their own fireworks displays, there is much a greater chance someone will be hurt, and these often are the result of negligence, gross negligence, or even a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others. First, it is important to understand the laws about shooting off amateur fireworks in Florida as established in F.S. Chapter 791. This is where it gets really strange. It is illegal to sell or buy anything other than sparklers, snakes, fountains, and glow worms. Everything else, including bottle rockets, roman candles, and mortars are illegal. However, you see them sold in stores all the time in Florida, so this might seem odd. It is odd, because they are allowed to sell them under a law that is more than 60 years old that allows fireworks to be purchased and used only for the control of birds and wildlife in certain approved situations. That means that buying them for your home fireworks display is illegal, as discussed in a news article from News 7.
The reason this is important, as our Orlando personal injury lawyers can explain, is because if someone is breaking the law when causing a personal injury to a plaintiff, it can be used as evidence of negligence.
The elements in negligence case are as follows:
The duty is fairly straightforward and means that one must act as a reasonable and prudent person to prevent foreseeable injuries to foreseeable persons and property. If this duty is breached, and that breach causes damages to plaintiff, this would substantiate a personal injury claim filed under a theory of negligence.
There are various ways to prove the breach, but one of them is through what is known as negligence per se. This means negligence is a matter of law. In other words, if a person is breaking a law when he or she causes a personal injury, breaking the law can be used to establish negligence per se. This is true if a person is drunk driving when they cause a serious traffic accident with personal injury, or if they are illegally shooting off fireworks.
However, it is important to understand that just because you can prove a breach with the violation of law, it is not going to mean you automatically win the case. You will also need to establish causation and the amount of damages. Causation is important because a person can break the law, yet still not be responsible for the personal injury. For example, if a person is driving drunk, and that person is involved in a crash, but it was the other driver’s fault, the fact that they were drunk may get them convicted of a DUI, but it doesn’t mean they are liable in a personal injury lawsuit.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Miami-Dade officials stress fireworks legality, safety, July 1, 2016, By Walter Morris, News 7
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