Who is Liable When Fireworks Start Fires?

July 5, 2022

Every year, people across the country celebrate the Fourth of July with fireworks displays big and small. While fireworks are beautiful, they can lead to serious injuries if they are not handled properly. They can also inadvertently start fires that destroy property or injure even more people.

If you or a loved one received a severe injury from a fireworks show or from consumer fireworks, you may need legal guidance to determine who is liable for the injury. Work with one of the Louisiana personal injury lawyers at Dudley DeBosier to protect your rights in the aftermath of a fireworks injury and help you seek compensation for your injuries.

Fireworks Can Be Deadly

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that 15,600 people suffered injuries in fireworks accidents in 2020, with 10,000 receiving emergency treatment. 30% of these fireworks injuries occurred to the hands and fingers, followed by 22% of injuries to the head, face, and ears.

The outcome can be downright severe when a projectile firework collides with a sensitive area like the eyes or face. Burns from fireworks accounted for 44% of all emergency room treatments after the Fourth of July in 2020. In 2018, fireworks also caused 19,500 fires, including 1,900 building fires and 500 motor vehicle fires.

Who is Liable in a Fireworks Accident?

In fireworks accidents, liability depends on the facts surrounding the accident. Here are some of the parties who may be held responsible.

Property owner

If a homeowner used a legal firework, such as a bottle rocket, and set fire to a tree on their property or their own roof, they can file a claim with their homeowner’s insurance company. However, the insurance company likely won’t cover property owners for fires caused by illegal fireworks, such as cherry bombs.

If a neighbor damaged your home or your property with a firework, you may need to consider going to court and trying to get compensation from your negligent neighbor’s insurance.

Homeowners may also be at least partially liable for fireworks-related injuries that occurred on their property. A New Orleans personal injury lawyer from Dudley DeBosier can help you gather evidence and negotiate a fair settlement covering injuries and property damages on your behalf.

Fireworks manufacturer

In the same way that any manufacturer is responsible for the safety of its products, fireworks producers must ensure their products are safe for consumers. Fireworks must be carefully produced to avoid premature explosions. The manufacturer’s responsibility is to ensure the safety of their product by warning users of potential risks associated with the handling and use of their explosives.

You can file a claim against the fireworks manufacturer for making a defective product or failing to warn about the dangers in their instructions. For instance, you can hold the manufacturer responsible if the fireworks went off earlier than stated on the directions label.

When ground-based fireworks go off too early, they may go off while the user is still too close and burn them. When ariel fireworks are defective, they may fly in erratic patterns instead of straight up or may explode too close to the ground—in either of these situations, they may set nearby trees or buildings on fire.

Fireworks operator

Fireworks operators of large fireworks displays for cities or venues must ensure that their displays are carried out at an appropriate distance from the public. If they fail to do so, they may be liable for any injury or damage caused by their negligence. They can commit misconduct in various ways, such as:

  • Launch of fireworks in close proximity to flammable objects and spectators
  • Inadequate storage and maintenance of launching equipment
  • Failure to take adequate precautions to prevent fireworks accidents due to bad weather, such as wind conditions (the wind may carry sparks that can start fires)
  • Lack of quality control over the fireworks used in the display

Municipal liability

A city or town that hired the fireworks operator and pyrotechnic company may also be held liable for negligence if they chose the venue or failed to keep the crowd away from the fireworks at a safe distance. If they did not review the safety records and accident histories of the fireworks operators before the event, they may also be liable.

After a Fireworks Accident, Talk to a Louisiana Attorney

If you were burnt by exploding fireworks in or a fire caused by fireworks, it’s time to talk to an attorney at Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers and learn your legal options. We’ll listen to what happened and outline the ‌paths you may have to seek compensation for what you went through.

Call our law office today to schedule a free initial consultation with a New Orleans personal injury lawyer.