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Firework Injuries

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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Attorneys for Injuries Caused By Fireworks

Fireworks have been a long-standing tradition in our county, especially around the Fourth of July and other holidays, but they can bring a heightened sense of danger, especially in the hands of untrained users.

In 2018, Pennsylvania firework regulations were adjusted allowing residents to purchase standard consumer fireworks – including aerial devices. Previously, residents were only able to purchase less dangerous products like sparklers and smoke bombs. With the change in regulations, Pennsylvania state residents no longer have to cross state lines to buy things like skyrockets, roman candles, and aerial shell kits, sometimes known as a reloadable tube.

While this may be considered a convenience to some, the possibility of personal injury can go up exponentially when more dangerous types of fireworks are introduced into the market and to consumers.

 

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Roman Candles, Skyrockets, Aerial Spinners

What are the different types of Class-C or "Consumer Grade" fireworks available?

Pennsylvania Consumers can now purchase and use “Class C” or “consumer-grade” fireworks that include firecrackers, Roman candles, bottle rockets, and similar fireworks that contain a maximum of 50 milligrams of explosive material. The expansion includes those fireworks that were previously only available to out-of-state residents.

“Display fireworks,” which are classified as including salutes that contain more than two grains or 130 milligrams of explosive materials, and professional-grade aerial shells containing more than 60 grams of pyrotechnic compositions, are still only to be used by professionals with a permit from the municipality where the display will take place.1

Pennsylvania State Police – Fireworks FAQ: https://www.psp.pa.gov/public-safety/Pages/fireworks-safety.aspx

Consumer Grade ("Class-C") fireworks include:

The American Pyrotechnics Association standard for consumer fireworks defines them as:

  • Roman candles
  • Bottle rockets
  • Handheld sparklers
  • Illuminating torch
  • Toy smoke devices
  • Helicopter or aerial spinner
  • Firecrackers or chaser

 

From the Pennsylvania State Police Department

What are the rules for using fireworks in Pennsylvania?

  • They cannot be ignited or discharged on a public or private property without express permission of the property owner.
  • They cannot be discharged from or within a motor vehicle or building.
  • They cannot be discharged toward a motor vehicle or building.
  • They cannot be discharged within 150 feet of an occupied structure, whether or not a person is actually present.
  • They cannot be discharged while the person is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or another drug.

Also, it is recommended that you check with your local municipality, as you may also be subject to applicable local ordinances.

Pennsylvania State Police – Fireworks FAQ: https://www.psp.pa.gov/public-safety/Pages/fireworks-safety.aspx

Fireworks Frequently Asked Quesetions

Where can I find more information about the firework regulations and restrictions in Pennsylvania/

The Pennsylvania State Police has a frequently asked questions page for firework rules and regulations located here.

https://www.psp.pa.gov/public-safety/Pages/fireworks-safety.aspx

2020 Pandemic Injuries Rose

How many people are injured by fireworks?

A report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) showed that there was a 50 percent increase in death and injuries from firework-related incidents in 2020 when compared to 2019. While not confirmed, it’s safe to assume that this rise in accidents and injuries were due to local communities and organizations canceling their public firework exhibits due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some notable numbers from the report include:

  • At least 18 people died from fireworks-related incidents in 2020, compared to 12 reported for the previous year.
  • About 15,600 people were treated in hospital emergency departments for fireworks injuries in 2020. There were about 10,000 ER-treated fireworks injuries in 2019.
  • Of the 18 deaths, 8 of the victims (44 percent) had used alcohol or drugs prior to the incident.
  • Most fireworks-related injuries (about 66 percent) occurred in the month surrounding the July 4th holiday (from June 21, 2020 to July 21, 2020). During that one-month period:

Fire Injures, Burns, Property Damage

What types of injuries and accidents can be caused by fireworks?

Given the nature of fireworks, the most common type of injury that is seen would be burn injuries. Eye injuries and scarring are also common results of firework-related accidents. In the most extreme cases, injuries sustained can include limb damage that leads to amputation and even fatal accidents.

Injured?

Manufacturer Defects, Unpredictable Flight, Missing Warning Labels

How can a firework be defective?

Not all firework injuries are the fault of the user. There can be times when a consumer purchases or interacts with a defective firework. Even the most experienced user or even a professionally trained pyrotechnic can suffer catastrophic personal injury if they encounter a defective product.

If you or someone you care about was injured in a firework accident and it’s presumed the product was defective, you need to speak to a law firm that focuses on product liability claims. The attorneys at Schiffman Firm have decades of experience in helping clients that have been hurt by dangerous and defective products.

Faulty or defective fireworks can include:

  • Inadequate warning labels
  • Premature or unexpected explosions
  • Improperly loaded powder or materials
  • Unpredictable flight paths
Injured by defetive firework?

Venues, Retailers, Homeowners

Who can be held liable in a firework injury claim?

Liability can lie in different areas depending on when, where, and how the injury occurred. Here are a few sample scenarios:

The injury occurred due to a faulty or defective product

If a consumer is injured by a firework that is ultimately deemed to be a defective product the liability can reside in a few different areas. The manufacturer of the firework could be liable if the defect occurred during the manufacturing process. A retailer or store could be held liable if they improperly stored or handled the product which lead to the defect.

The injury occurred at a public venue like a sporting event or a neighbor’s house

Firework injuries that occur at public venues most commonly fall under premise liability cases. The claim may be filed against a business property or even a government entity like the city or borough. If a pyrotechnic contractor was involved, they may also be a liable party if the injury occurred during an event they helped execute.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I am injured in a firework accident?

First and foremost – seek medical attention. No matter the severity of the incident, injuries involving fireworks tend to get the victim worked up with adrenaline and some additional injuries may not be noticed until proper medical attention is attained.

Once the situation is under control, contact a local personal injury like Schiffman Firm for a free consultation. Our legal team will review your case and will provide guidance on the next steps.

Prior to the consultation, it may be beneficial to have the following:

  • Location of where the accident occurred
  • Police reports
  • Medical reports
  • What type of firework caused the injury

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