The Palm Beach injury lawyers at Freeman & Mallard wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July holiday. Please celebrate responsibly, don’t drink and drive, practice safe driving habits on the road and on the water, and leave the fireworks to the professionals.
The threat of being injured by fireworks is very real. In 2006, 11 people were killed and more than 9,200 were treated in emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On Wednesday, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reported that rockets sold at fireworks stands in Florida and three other states are being recalled because they are overloaded with explosives. Anyone injured by a defective product in South Florida, including fireworks, should seek the advice of a qualified injury attorney about recovering damages from the manufacturer. In other cases, a Florida premise liability claim could result when guests are injured at a fireworks display.
Fireworks retailers may also be held liable in cases where a consumer is injured by high-grade professional fireworks that are inappropriately sold to a novice user. More than one-third of fireworks injuries involve professional-grade fireworks in the hands of consumers and the Fourth of July is, not surprisingly, the most common time of year for serious fireworks injuries.
More than two-thirds of all fireworks injuries occur around the Fourth of July holiday and children are the frequent victims. One-third of injuries occur to children under the age of 15 and nearly half occur to young people under the age of 20. The most frequent fireworks injuries involve the hands and eyes as well as the head, face and ears. Firecrackers cause the greatest number of injuries, followed by sparklers and rockets.
Fireworks injuries are associated with blindness, third-degree burns and foreign objects in the eyes, as well as scarring and the serious threat of deadly vehicle or house fires.
The most frequent causes of fireworks injuries include the availability of high-grade fireworks to consumers, being too close to fireworks, operator error, child curiosity and experimentation with homemade devices.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission provides the following safety tips for fireworks:
-Keep fireworks out of the hands of children.
-Older children should only handle approved fireworks, including sparklers, under adult supervision.
-Light fireworks outdoors, away from the house and away from dry leaves, grass or other flammable material.
-Keep a bucket of water nearby and pour it on fireworks that do not go off.
-Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks.
-Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
-Never light fireworks in a container.
-Keep unused fireworks safe, both while lighting fireworks and while storing.
-Store fireworks in a cool, dry place and check for special storing instructions.
-Observe local laws.
-Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks while lighting.
-Don’t experiment with homemade fireworks.
Freeman & Mallard is a personal injury and wrongful death law firm dedicated to fighting for the rights of injury victims in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and the Port St. Lucie/Fort Pierce areas. Call today for a free consultation. 1-800-529-2368.