Fireworks displays can be exciting. Magical, even. Experienced professionals can do incredible things with fireworks, painting the night sky with brilliant pictures that rival anything an artist can do with a canvas. This is particularly true for kids, who tend to go wide-eyed at the sight of the sky exploding with colored lights.
The key words in that paragraph, though, are “experienced professionals.”
With all of the excitement surrounding the 4th of July, many of us tend to forget that fireworks are basically really colorful explosives. Sure, they seem simple, and they’re definitely fun and beautiful, but they are also potentially very dangerous.
That’s why, every single year, there are a number of people who end up getting injured from handling fireworks. What kinds of things can happen?
Learning from Actual Reported Firework Injuries
One of the more recent cases of serious individual injury that resulted from fireworks occurred in 2016 with a 15-year-old boy in Texas. He used tape to join 200 sparklers together, then lit them all at once. Tragically, the fireworks blew up in his face, causing several serious injuries. These included:
- He faced possible blindness
- Several fingers were blown off
- His right leg had several injuries
- His hands and face received severe burns
- They had to amputate a part of his left leg
- He had screws inserted in both of his arms to hold his wrists and elbows together
Another reported case involves a 22-year-old woman from Indiana who lost a finger in 2016 when a roman candle exploded as she held it in her hand. Thankfully, there were no other injuries, but this woman is now left with a disfigured hand because of fireworks.
In a separate incident in 2016, a man from Long Island had to lose two of his fingers because a mortar firework exploded in his hand.
There are also a few deaths that have been reported which were related to fireworks. A Kansas man fell off a roof in 2016 after trying to set off some fireworks. A 42-year old man also died as he tried to set off some mortars through a PVC pipe. There was also a death in Louisiana as fireworks caused a very explosive argument between two men. During the altercation, one of the men pulled a gun and shot the other. The man who was shot returned fire and ended up killing the other.
Common Types of Firework injuries
As you can see, there are many different types of injuries that can result from fireworks. They range from minor to major, and the injury may be caused directly by a firework itself or simply related to using fireworks.
Bottom line? If you are going to be dealing with fireworks or nearby to an area where fireworks are being displayed, you need to exercise extreme caution to keep yourself and your loved ones from getting injured. Some of the most common injuries that people tend to experience from fireworks include:
Burns can range from minor to very severe. In many cases where people get burned, it is because they hold fireworks in their hand for too long after they are lit.
- Loss of finger(s)
When fireworks explode as they are being held, it can do more than burn – it can cause you to lose fingers. The extent of the damage depends on how big the explosion was and how the firework was being held.
Though it’s not as common, several people have lost a limb or two while dealing with fireworks. In many cases, loss of limb stems from an explosion of a firework.
While it may seem odd, fractures are not uncommon when fireworks are involved. Often, these types of injuries are indirectly related to firework displays. For example, if a firework gets out of control, someone might run away and trip and fall. If they end up breaking a bone, it is considered a firework injury.
In rare cases, people have even died due to mishandling fireworks or in accidents indirectly linked to firework displays. The worst fireworks disaster ever occurred in France in 1770, when an accident caused a crowd to panic and trample people in their haste to escape. Depending on the account that you want to believe, the death toll was anywhere from 133 to a staggering 3,000 people.
Additionally, although it is not a physical injury, it is also important to note that there have been cases where fires have started because of fireworks. Not surprisingly, these can cause significant loss of property depending on how severe the fire is.
If you or someone you love experienced injury or loss due to negligence related to a fireworks display, do not hesitate to contact our office so that we can go over the facts of your case and let you know what your options are.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.