MOST COMMON FIREWORKS INJURIES ARE LISTED BELOW:
- Burns to hands
- Injuries to the eye
- Cuts and fractures to the hands
- Amputations of thumbs and fingers
- Facial injuries
- Hearing loss
The Fourth of July means celebrations and parties for many Americans. It can also mean injuries from fireworks. Small fireworks and sparklers are the cause of many injuries on this holiday. It is important to remember that fireworks are not toys and close supervision of all children is a must. Sparklers burn at extremely high temperatures. Fortunately, most fireworks injuries can be prevented. The following are helpful tips to avoid these six common fireworks injuries, as well as what to do in case an injury does occur. (taken from Healthgrades)
A burned hand or finger is the most common injury from fireworks. A minor burn causes redness and pain. More serious burns cause blisters. The most serious burns cause white leathery skin and damage under the skin. Don’t let children use fireworks. Never pick up a firework that has not gone off. If you do light fireworks, keep water close by in case of fire. Minor burns can be treated by cleaning and over-the-counter pain medicine. All other burns need emergency treatment.
Eye injuries from fireworks can range from minor burns to complete loss of vision. An exploding firework sends dangerous particles flying through the air. They can pierce an eyeball. You can get an eye injury by standing too close. Wear protective eyewear if you are handling fireworks. Better yet, go to a fireworks show instead of doing fireworks at home. Stand at least 500 feet away. There is no first aid for a fireworks eye injury. Leave the eye alone and get emergency medical treatment.
- Hand Fractures and Lacerations
Besides burns, fireworks can cause severe hand injuries. These include deep cuts, torn tendons, and broken bones. Severe hand injuries require emergency treatment. Before emergency help arrives, a little first aid may help. Take off any jewelry, cover the hand with a clean cloth, put an ice pack on it, and keep the hand raised.
Powerful fireworks can cause serious injuries to the face. Besides harming the eyes, fireworks can burn the face. Severe injuries to the face can also include broken bones and loss of facial tissue. To keep from getting hurt, don’t use any type of powerful firework. Never light a fuse with your head bent over the firework. If you do get injured, keep your head at a level above your heart. Put a clean cloth over the injury. Apply an ice pack. Get emergency care as soon as possible.
Many severe hand injuries from fireworks cause loss of a finger or thumb. First aid includes cleaning, covering with a clean cloth, applying ice, and keeping the hand raised until you get emergency care. If part of a lost finger can be found, clean it with a saltwater solution. Then wrap it in gauze, put it in a watertight bag and place the bag on ice. Take the finger with you to the emergency room.
Very loud noise from fireworks can cause hearing loss. This could be temporary or permanent. Noise is measured in decibels. Noise louder than 85 decibels can cause damage to hearing. A firework going off three feet away can be 150 decibels. Besides loss of hearing, symptoms can include ear pain and ringing in the ears. Stay at least 500 feet from fireworks to prevent hearing loss. First aid includes covering the ears and getting away from the noise. Then make an appointment for an ear and hearing check with your doctor.
At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, we urge all of our fellow Nevada residents to prevent injuries and have a safe and happy Fourth of July. The following safety tips can reduce the risk of injuries:
- Always follow the directions on the fireworks package very carefully;
- Be sure not to set off fireworks near fire hazards such as tall grass, dry leaves, and other dry debris.
- Do not try to reignite used or malfunctioning fireworks.
- Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergency purposes, and soak any used or misfired fireworks before discarding to prevent fires or accidental ignitions.
- Never allow children use fireworks without adult supervision. Even simple fireworks like sparklers have been known to cause injury
- Never alter or modify or experiment with homemade fireworks.
In calendar year 2015, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that there were 11,900 fireworks-related injuries in the United States. The majority of injuries caused by fireworks are the result of consumers not using them properly. Common mistakes include lighting the fireworks improperly, lighting the fireworks too close to other people, or lighting fireworks while holding them in one’s hand. Even when used properly, fireworks are dangerous explosives that can cause severe injuries. Reported fireworks-related injuries have included loss of eyesight, burns, and lacerations, punctures wounds and even death.
However, often fireworks can malfunction and cause injury. Improperly manufactured fireworks can explode prematurely before users have made it a safe distance away. Also, a defective fuse may ignite the explosive powders in the firework in a way the manufacturer did not intend, causing the firework to explode in an unexpected way. Finally, fireworks designed to soar through the air, such as bottle rockets, can take unpredictable flight paths, injuring onlookers or hitting nearby vehicles and buildings.
Fireworks injuries can be catastrophic and an attorney should be contacted immediately. If injury occurs, it is important to immediately take the following steps:
- Immediately take as many photos as possible of the scene, the debris, and the injury.
- Take the name, address and phone number of every person present who witnessed the accident.
- Most importantly, keep all remnants of the firework including the packaging and the receipt.
If you are injured by Fireworks, Know your Legal Rights
Whether a spectator at a fireworks show gone wrong or the user of a malfunctioning firework, victims may be able to recover damages for their injuries. Depending on the circumstances of the firework injury, a number of legal theories may apply. It is important to contact an attorney immediately if you have been injured by fireworks.
If you are injured as a spectator, you may be able to hold the person or company setting off the fireworks liable through negligence. This may include the organizers of the shows such as cities or hotels that may be liable for failing to properly supervise the activity. Although a city’s liability may be limited by state law, entities hiring fireworks companies still have a duty to protect attendee’s from injuries. Cities and hotels and other show organizers can be negligent in fulfilling their duty to supervise and open the door to liability if they are negligence.
When fireworks malfunction and cause injury, the injured person may be able to recover substantial damages from the manufacturer, the importer of foreign-made fireworks, or the local retail seller. All of these entities have a duty to sell products that function properly. Under the theory of products liability, they may be liable for any injuries caused by a defective firework. http://injury.findlaw.com/product-liability/fireworks-injuries.html
Over the past decade, thousands of people in the United States have been injured by fireworks. Aside from 2005, the number of people injured has risen steadily every year.
Estimated Fireworks-Related Injuries: 2000–2015
Year Estimated Injuries Injuries per 100,000 People
2015 11,900 3. 7
2014 10,500 3.3
2013 11,400 3.6
2012 8,700 2.8
2011 9,600 3.1
2010 8,600 2.8
2009 8,800 2.9
2008 7,000 2.3
2007 9,800 3.3
2006 9,200 3.1
2005 10,800 3.7
2004 9,600 3.3
2003 9,300 3.2
2002 8,800 3.1
2001 9,500 3.3
2000 11,000 3.9
Source: NEISS, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The estimate for 2003 excludes an estimated 150
emergency department-treated injuries following the nightclub fire in West Warwick, RI. Population estimates for 2010 to 2015 are from Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 (NST-EST2015-01), U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. Release Date: December 2015. Population estimates for 2000 to 2009 are from Table 1. Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2009 (NST-EST2009-01).Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau.
People often mistakingly think that only the illegal fireworks cause injury. This is a misconception. In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, small fireworks accounted for a substantial number of fireworks related injuries in 2017.
Estimated Fireworks-Related Injuries
By Type of Fireworks Device
June 19–July 19, 2015
Fireworks Device Type Estimated Injuries Percent (%)
Total 8,000 100
All Firecrackers 1,200 16
Small 500 6
Illegal 200 3
Unspecified 500 6
All Rockets 900 11
Bottle Rockets 800 10
Other Rockets 100 1
All Other Devices 3,700 47
Sparklers 1,900 24
Fountains 100 1
Novelties 300 4
Multiple Tube 400 5
Reloadable Shells 800 9
Roman Candles 300 3
Homemade/Altered 200 3
Public Display 200 3
Unspecified 1,700 21
Source: NEISS, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Based on 208 NEISS emergency department-reported injuries between June 19, 2015 and July 19, 2015, and supplemented by 31 completed In-Depth Investigations (IDIs).
Fireworks types are obtained from the IDI, when available; otherwise, fireworks types are identified from information in victims’ reports to emergency department staffs that were contained in the NEISS narrative. Illegal firecrackers include M-80s, M-1000s, Quarter Sticks, and other firecrackers that are banned under the Federal Hazardous
Substances Act (FHSA) (16 C.F.R. § 1500.17). Fireworks that may be illegal under state and local regulations are not listed as illegal, unless they violate the FHSA. Subtotal estimates are presented below the estimates for firework type. Estimates are rounded to the nearest 100 injuries. Estimates may not sum to subtotal or total due to rounding. Percentages are calculated from the actual estimates, and they may not add to subtotals or the total due to rounding.
Who Is Liable to Pay for Your Medical Bills
Injuries from fireworks can be serious and the medical bills to treat such injuries can be substantial. Homeowners’ insurance protection liability coverage is often available, but is it extremely important to contact an attorney first to discuss the facts of your case and determine if coverage applies. If you or a loved one is injured in a firework accident, do not give any statements until you speak with an attorney. Criminal laws and contractual provisions apply in every instance. Liability coverage under a homeowner’s policy can cover the medical expenses, pain and suffering and property damages. This means that if someone other than you or a family member sustains an injury in your home or on your property, your insurance policy may pay for their medical expenses. Health insurance will cover any injuries you or a family member may have sustained in a firework accident and should be used first.
Your homeowner’s insurance policy may also protect you in the event you are sued for an accident involving fireworks you are lighting which causes injury to a guest or passerby. For a covered loss, your homeowner’s policy will pay the cost of litigation including attorney’s fees and a judgment, should the person suing you succeed in getting the lawsuit to court. The Insurance Information Institute (III) has found that the typical homeowner’s insurance policy has a liability limit of $100,000. I would advise you to check your policy to make sure you have enough coverage if you typically put on a large fireworks display.
However, if your state or county has made firework shows illegal in your jurisdiction, and you put on a private show in spite of the law, your insurance company may not be responsible to pay for any damages that you may incur as a result of a firework caused fire or injury. It is important to review your policy for an “illegal acts” exclusion. Because the use of certain fireworks was illegal, you should not have been using them. Unlike the coverage on your home, the law of negligence would apply to your guests and they would be covered by your policy for your gross negligence in setting off illegal fireworks.
City Of Henderson and Clark County Fireworks Laws
Legal Use of Fireworks in the City of Henderson and Clark County
“Only fireworks labeled as “Safe and Sane” are legal for use on private property for one week of the year, from June 28 until 11:59 p.m. on July 4. Safe and Sane fireworks can only be used on private property and cannot be used on the street or sidewalk, or on public property such as parks, schools, or federal land.
Safe and Sane fireworks are not toys and should not be played with by children. Safe and Sane fireworks can cause major injury to adults and children and are capable of starting large fires, so exercise extreme caution when using Safe and Sane fireworks. “
Illegal Fireworks In the City of Henderson and Clark County
“Fireworks that fly through the air, explode, or rotate on the ground are illegal throughout Clark County, including the City of Henderson. They are deemed unsafe because the fireworks user has no control over where they land, which can potentially cause a fire. Illegal fireworks are usually sold outside Clark County and on the Indian Reservation. Those purchased on the Indian Reservation are expected to be used on the Reservation at a special designated area and should not be transported off the property. Illegal fireworks brought into Clark County can be confiscated, and a person possessing or using them can be cited. The penalty is a $1,000 fine and/or a maximum of six months in jail.
Private use of fireworks of any kind is not allowed on public property, such as those owned by the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, Lake Mead Recreational Area, or City of Henderson parks, trail facilities, streets or sidewalks. Use of fireworks on public property can result in a fine of up to $10,000 and a year in jail as well as the costs associated with resource damage, suppression costs, and injuries. Safe and Sane fireworks are illegal at any time of year other than the week of June 28 until 11:59 p.m. on July 4. “
If you or a loved one is injured by fireworks, call our office immediately and we will make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve, and advise on how to preserve evidence. If you have been in any type of accident and have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices today. At my office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to. Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities. They want to pay as little on every claim as possible. Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.
At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur. For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our offices. The Law Offices of Laura Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims. Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.