Fireworks are a long-standing tradition on July 4th. However, they can also be highly dangerous, especially if not handled appropriately. Recently, tragedy hit the Comanche area when one person was killed and four others injured in a fireworks accident.
The accident occurred when Kiwanis Club members were preparing fireworks for the 4th of July celebration the morning beforehand, on a baseball field near a high school. A trailer holding most of the fireworks suddenly exploded. The cause is not yet clear. One person was confirmed dead and the other four were rushed to the burn unit of Comanche County Medical Center, with injuries ranging from first to third-degree burns, mostly on their hands. All 4th of July activities were canceled as a result. This would have been the 24th year that the fireworks were held, and the event usually drew as many as 15,000 people.
There is no evidence as to whether the fireworks had been mishandled before they were placed in the van, or whether they were simply defective. However, this is just the latest in a series of serious accidents caused by fireworks. In 2011 alone, they caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires, including 1,200 structure fires, 400 vehicle fires, and 16,300 outside fires. These fires led to eight deaths, 40 injuries, and $32 million in property damage. In 2012, an estimated 8,700 people went to emergency rooms across the country due to fireworks-related injuries. Of these injuries, more than 55 percent were to extremities and 31 percent were to the head. The risk was highest for those between the ages of 15 and 24, followed by children under the age of 10.
If the explosion was caused by defective fireworks, the injured parties and the family of the deceased individual may eventually file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, claiming that the product was designed to be dangerously defective, that it came off of the assembly line defective, or that it had a warning label that insufficiently warned of possible dangers. Should their suit be successful, they could receive a monetary amount for medical costs, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and more.
In the meantime, to avoid injury from fireworks, individuals should do what they can to take the necessary precautions. This means that only professionals should be allowed to handle fireworks, not untrained individuals. Individuals should not use consumer fireworks. The best place to enjoy fireworks is at a public display rather than a private residence. Finally, if you or anyone you know have children, you should ensure that they never pick up any fireworks that are left over, as they might still be active.
If you or a loved one has suffered due to a product malfunction, you may be entitled to compensation, including medical expenses, loss of wages, and pain and suffering for complications related to use. The experienced San Antonio personal injury attorneys at Carabin & Shaw may be able to help. Call our office for more information at 1-800-862-1260.