Why Lawyers Love Independence Day Fireworks
Everyone loves Fourth of July celebrations. The fireworks are great but those beautifully explosive displays are also the source of personal injury and property damage lawsuits.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than two thirds of all fireworks injuries occur on or near July 4th each year. While most fireworks injuries aren’t serious, many lead to permanent damage, loss of fingers, disfigurement, blindness and even death.
Generally, property damage caused by fireworks comes in two forms — damages caused by an ensuing fire and damages caused by the physical impact of a firework rocket itself. Fire can travel quite a distance and cause significant property damage and consequential loss of life.
“Lawsuits are common”, says attorney Peter Calabrese. “Lawsuits concerning firework related property damage usually involve claims for trespass. A trespass occurs when a person or an “object” enters property owned by another without permission. In cases involving fireworks, the person who caused the “firework” to enter another person’s property without permission is liable for trespass and oftentimes may be found to be negligent as well. Negligence occurs when a person fails to exercise reasonable care. Sometimes fireworks are improperly made and are defective, which can lead to serious injuries and property damage as well.
Firework-related lawsuits usually name the person who launched the firework, the property owner who allowed the fireworks to be launched, the manufacturer of the fireworks, distributor and the vendor who sold the fireworks that caused the injury or damage.
The best way to avoid firework-related accidents is to use extreme caution when handling them or to simply not use fireworks and stay away from people who use fireworks. Fireworks should always be purchased and handled in a manner consistent with state and federal law.
“When near fireworks it is important to be aware of your surroundings — firework-related fires can spread rapidly and pose an immediate threat to neighboring properties”, says Calabrese. He shares a story of a man who was sued when his firework rocket landed on the rooftop of his neighbor’s home. The roof caught fire and when it rained the water poured into the home through holes in the roof, which caused extensive damage to the interior of the home. The man was found liable and ordered to pay many thousands of dollars to repair his neighbor’s home.
“If you or a family member is injured, or their property is damaged,” says Calabrese, “it’s wise to consult with an attorney immediately. In cases of damage caused by fire, first report the incident to the local fire department and police, contact your insurance company, and then contact a real estate attorney.” Knowing your rights and taking immediate steps to report the damage or injury helps the persons harmed to recover compensation for their losses.
Originally published at South Coast Today