Philadelphia Hospitals See Increase in Firework Accident Cases Over 4th of July Weekend
Ryan Zavodnick | July 15, 2020 | News
Hospitals expect firework accident cases to increase on July Fourth. However, the increase in firework injuries has been earlier this year. Einstein Healthcare reported two life-altering injuries ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend this year.
Unfortunately, the cancelation of many July 4th celebrations this year because of COVID-19 concerns, many people are planning home displays. For some people, this year might be the first time they try the bigger and more explosive fireworks.
Last year, approximately 10,000 people were treated for firework-related injuries. Twelve people died from their injuries. Consumer aerial fireworks became legal in Pennsylvania in 2017. Many of those fireworks can be heard nightly around Philadelphia.
Backyard Fireworks Popular During COVID-19 Pandemic
The American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) predicted that the sale of consumer fireworks would reach record levels for Independence Day 2020. However, the trend may continue throughout the summer and into the Labor Day Holiday.
As more events are canceled because of the pandemic, people are hosting their own events at home. Families and friends gather to set off fireworks in backyards.
Philadelphia has restrictions on the use of fireworks with the city. Some of the restrictions for consumer fireworks include:
- You cannot use consumer fireworks within 150 feet of an occupied property.
- People are banned from setting off fireworks on property with permission from the property owner.
- M-80s and other Class M high-explosive fireworks are illegal within the city limits of Philadelphia.
- Selling fireworks on the street is illegal without a license.
Homeowners and other individuals should review the Philadelphia Code to ensure that they comply with all fireworks regulations. Violating the code could result in fines and other penalties.
Can Property Owners be Held Liable for Firework Accidents?
Some fireworks injuries can result in disabilities or fatal injuries.
Homeowners can be held liable for firework injuries under several causes of action, including premises liability laws, negligence, failure to warn, and others.
Under premises liability laws, a homeowner could be liable for damages for hazards that cause an injury or pose a threat to people on the property.
General negligence laws may apply if a homeowner violates the restrictions for consumer fireworks or fails to take reasonable steps to prevent injuries.
A personal injury lawyer can review the case to determine if you have a cause of action for liability after a backyard fireworks show. In some cases, you could have a claim against the property owner and the fireworks manufacturer if a defective firework contributed to the cause of your injury.
If you have a valid claim for a fireworks injury, you could receive compensation for damages such as:
- medical expenses
- loss of income
- pain and suffering
- scarring and disfigurement
- permanent disability and impairment
- personal care
- emotional distress
Recovering compensation for damages caused by a fireworks accident can be complicated. Your time to file a claim is limited. Talking to an attorney as soon as possible after the accident is the best way to protect your legal rights and options.
Fireworks Safety Tips
If you plan to use consumer fireworks, it is a good idea to review the 12 safety tips provided by the APA:
- Do not allow younger children to play with fireworks, including sparklers. A sober adult should always be in charge of the fireworks.
- Purchase consumer fireworks from a licensed retailer. Make sure fireworks packages are clearly marked with directions, warnings, and the manufacturer’s name.
- Read all directions and warnings. Follow instructions for the use of fireworks.
- Do not carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot off fireworks from a glass or metal container.
- Make sure that the people watching the fireworks remain a safe distance away from the staging area.
- Always wear a pair of safety glasses when setting off fireworks.
- Never throw fireworks at someone or aim fireworks at another person.
- Dispose of fireworks correctly. Allow fireworks to stand for at least 20 minutes, and then submerge the fireworks in water and drain before placing the fireworks in the garbage.
- Never lean over fireworks or place any part of your body over a firework.
- Only set off fireworks outdoors, on a flat, level surface that is fireproof and far away from buildings and debris.
- Always have a bucket of water and a working hose nearby.
- Only light one firework at a time, and never approach or attempt to relight a firework that does not work.
The APA also has a short video on YouTube about firework safety. It’s worth a watch.