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Who Is Responsible for Injuries Caused by Fireworks?

Every year around the Fourth of July we hear stories about people being injured by fireworks. Some injuries result from foolish stunts, others from poor judgment, often involving alcohol. A report issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission noted that children under the age of 15 accounted for nearly a third of fireworks-related injuries that were treated in emergency rooms in 2016. Young people in general (those 24 or younger) seem to be the most at-risk group for injury. The range of potential injury from fireworks extends from minor burns to loss of fingers, damaged eyes and ears, and in rare cases, death. Serious injuries that involve significant medical costs and other consequences, like impacts on a person’s ability to work, may give rise to a personal injury lawsuit. There are several components that may be relevant to a fireworks-related injury:
  • The negligence of the injured person. The extent to which the individual who was injured contributed to the injury will be a key question in any fireworks-related case. Nevada is a modified comparative negligence state, which means that a defendant’s liability can be reduced by a percentage of fault that the fact-finder in the case (the jury or the judge) determines should be attributed to the plaintiff. For example, in a lawsuit against a store that sold defective fireworks, if the plaintiff knew about the defect, acknowledged its hazards, and used the fireworks anyway, that may reduce the defendant’s liability.
  • The source of the injury. Fireworks injuries can arise in a number of ways. The first variety that many will think of is the case of someone hand-holding an explosive firework despite the obvious danger of doing so. But other types of injury can arise due to defects in the manufacture of a product, such as a fuse that is too short or burns too fast, or inclusion of materials that burn at an especially unsafe temperature.
  • Did the defendant assume responsibility? In cases where a child is injured by a firework an adult may have assumed responsibility for keeping the child safe. An adult’s negligent supervision might involve giving a small child an unsafe product, encouraging unsafe behavior, and so on.
  • The chain of manufacture and distribution of a defective product. In cases where a person is injured by a product that might have been inherently unsafe, a products liability case may be warranted. In a products liability case the plaintiff may have a claim against anyone involved in the product’s manufacture or sale. Many fireworks are imported from overseas, making the original manufacturer difficult to pursue in litigation. But the store that sold the defective product can also be liable.
Every fireworks-related injury has unique facts and circumstances that a personal injury attorney should examine. The attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented Las Vegas clients in personal injury cases for over 45 years. For a free attorney consultation about your case, call us at 702-388-4476 or through our website.

Contracting Hepatitis A in Public Venues

Since the introduction of the hepatitis A vaccine in the mid-1990s the disease has seen a significant decline in the United States. But in recent years significant outbreaks have raised concerns that the disease is once again on the rise. An outbreak in San Diego recently caused 20 deaths and 592 cases. Several sources of hepatitis A have been identified, including the feces of infected persons, eating contaminated food imported from overseas, and drinking contaminated water. Hepatitis A is a serious illness that can take several months to resolve. Because it is a virus, antibiotics aren’t effective in treating it. Sufferers can endure a range of symptoms, from fever and fatigue to pain and even, in some cases, death. Preventing the disease’s spread requires a combination of strategies, including:
  • Adequate personal hygiene.
  • Compliance with water safety regulations, including chlorination standards for municipal water supplies.
  • Properly cooking food.
  • Sufficient cleaning of facilities like public toilets and other public spaces.
Contracting hepatitis A from a venue that has failed to take adequate care to keep its facilities clean could give rise to a personal injury lawsuit to help the patient cover the cost of treatment and other consequences of the disease. Places that are open to the public—restaurants, shopping malls, grocery stores, and so forth—owe a special duty of care to their visitors to maintain their facilities in a manner that ensures that they are safe for use. Regulatory regimes, enforced by government agencies rather than individual civil lawsuits, further impose sanitation requirements that are designed to minimize the spread of communicable diseases. A key challenge for a plaintiff in a case like this is going to be the issue of evidence. An expert’s analysis likely will be necessary to trace the source of the disease to a specific place. The hepatitis A virus can survive for months outside the body, making it possible that direct evidence of the presence of the disease at a location can be recovered. In some cases, an outbreak involving multiple patients might be traced through their distinct stories to a single location. Potential plaintiffs can examine the facts of their case with their doctor and an attorney to determine if a case can be made. The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez represents clients in personal injury cases in the Las Vegas area. If you have contracted hepatitis A and would like to examine your legal options for pursuing compensation, contact us today for a free attorney consultation. Call us at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.