Langsam Law LLP

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Fireworks—Who is Responsible for Safety?

Posted June 30, 2017

{1:10 minutes to read} All over the United States, people are making plans for fireworks displays, whether as spectators or event hosts. While the light shows leave us in awe, the hazard of the explosives makes the 4th of July one of the most dangerous days of the year. It is the event organizer’s responsibility to take precautions to keep spectators safe, while the responsibility for the safety of those lighting the fireworks lies all along the supply chain, from the manufacturer to the retailer to the end user himself—another example of the concept of comparative negligence.

For public fireworks displays, the organizer must cordon off the correct area so that people are not in either the line of fire or falling debris. When fireworks are privately purchased, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure the explosives are accompanied with sufficient warnings and clear instructions. While injuries due to defective fireworks are definitely grounds for legal action against the manufacturer and seller alike, injuries due to improper use may carry shared liability. It is always a good idea to discuss your situation with a personal injury attorney to determine whether you have a case.

If a fireworks-related injury occurs at a City-sponsored event, it is imperative to act quickly. Suits against the City of New York and other municipalities require a notice of claim to be filed within 90 days of the incident. Beyond that window, you can be barred from bringing a lawsuit.

The number one precaution you can take, though, is to be aware and cautious. We wish you a very SAFE and happy 4th of July celebration!

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