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The Law and Accidents Involving Fireworks

The Law and Accidents Involving Fireworks

Every year in the months around the Fourth of July we hear about people being injured in accidents involving fireworks. The underlying cause of these accidents often involves an element of recklessness on the part of the injured person. Someone who hand-holds an explosive while its fuse runs out is asking for trouble. But sometimes fireworks can be involved in accidents that are less clearly the fault of the person who gets injured. In these cases an injured person may have the option of suing for compensation. Here are some possible causes of action:

  • Negligence

The most common cause of action in personal injury cases is negligence. In a nutshell, a negligence case asks whether the defendant failed to comply with a legal obligation toward the plaintiff, and as a consequence of that failure the plaintiff was injured. Someone who is lighting off fireworks arguably owes nearby people a duty to light them in a way that will not put bystanders at undue risk of harm.

The boundary of this duty quickly becomes clear the more reckless the defendant was. For example, if the defendant thought it would be funny to light a firecracker on someone’s head, and the person suffered hearing loss, this would be a clear case of negligence and probably would qualify as gross negligence due to the particular disregard the defendant showed for the plaintiff’s safety. A defendant can be liable for accidentally causing someone harm as well. For example, a defendant will probably be liable for injuries that result after the defendant throws an explosive into the air with the idea that it will pop overhead, only to have it sail into a crowd by mistake.

Negligence claims can be easier to establish if the responsible person was also committing a crime doing the activity that caused the plaintiff’s injury. Here in Clark County use of fireworks is only permitted from June 28 through midnight on July 4, and only products that labeled “safe and sane” list are permitted. Fireworks that explode or fire into the air are generally illegal for consumers to use within the county. Potential plaintiffs may also be violating the law if they are participating in a use of illegal fireworks—an attorney can advise how this may affect a civil case.

  • Products Liability

Everyone understands that fireworks involve a degree of risk. Even a relatively low-risk device like a sparkler can cause minor burns. That probably means that in ordinary use a properly designed and manufactured firework doesn’t create limitless liability for the business that makes or sells it.

But a firework can be defectively designed or made in such a way that it is much more dangerous than a consumer will know to anticipate. For example, an unpredictably fast fuse may give users too little time to get out of the way before the firework detonates. In such cases chances are good that other people have been similarly injured and can group their cases together in a class action.

Call a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer to discuss your fireworks-related injury

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients in the Las Vegas area recover compensation in personal injury cases for over 45 years. If you have been injured in an accident involving fireworks and you have questions about how a lawsuit can help you recover compensation, call us today for a free consultation. We’re available at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.