Firework Safety and Legal Implications of Accidents During Summer Events

By David Hammond

Summer brings warm weather, outdoor gatherings, and festive celebrations. Many of these occasions are accompanied by fireworks displays. Fireworks can add excitement and beauty to any event but pose significant safety risks when mishandled. Firework accidents can lead to serious injuries, property damage, and legal consequences. The Syracuse personal injury team at Carden Dotzler Hammond, PLLC, wants to help you understand the importance of firework safety and the legal implications of firework accidents that occur during summer events.

Understanding Firework Laws in New York

New York has specific laws governing the sale, possession, and use of fireworks. The state categorizes fireworks into three main groups:

  • Sparkling Devices – These are ground-based or handheld devices that produce a shower of colored sparks or a colored flame. The visual presentation is accompanied by audible crackling or whistling noises and smoke. While sparkling devices are legal in most counties, local laws may vary.
  • Novelty Devices – Novelty devices are smaller items like party poppers, snappers, and toy smoke devices. These are not classified as fireworks and are legal statewide, although there are some restrictions on manufacturing and packaging.
  • Display Fireworks – These aerial devices and large ground-based devices are designed for use in commercial displays and are illegal to sell, use, or possess without a permit in New York.

Violating fireworks laws can result in fines, confiscation of the fireworks, and even arrest. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the specific laws in your county and municipality before purchasing or using any fireworks, as regulations may differ from one place to the next.

Firework Safety Tips

To minimize the risk of accidents and injuries, follow these firework safety tips:

  • Only use legal sparkling devices and novelty devices
  • Read and follow all manufacturer instructions and warnings
  • Never allow children to handle or light fireworks
  • Keep a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher nearby in case of emergencies
  • Light fireworks one at a time and move away quickly
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person, animal, or building
  • Dispose of used fireworks by dousing with water and placing them in a metal trash can a safe distance from any building or combustible materials

By prioritizing safety and following these guidelines, you can greatly reduce the chances of firework-related accidents and injuries.

Legal Implications of Firework Accidents

When fireworks accidents occur, the legal implications can be complex. Depending on the circumstances, multiple parties may be liable for injuries or damages, including:

  • The person who lit the firework
  • The property owner where the accident occurred
  • The manufacturer or distributor of the fireworks
  • Event organizers or hosts

Liability can arise from negligence, such as failing to follow safety guidelines or properly supervise firework activities. Property owners may be held responsible for accidents on their premises, especially if they knew or should have known about the dangerous firework activity.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a firework accident, it’s important to:

  • Seek medical attention immediately
  • Document the accident scene with photos or videos
  • Obtain contact information for any witnesses
  • Keep all medical records and receipts related to the injury
  • Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options

At Carden Dotzler Hammond, PLLC, our skilled attorneys can help you understand the legal issues surrounding firework accidents. We will investigate the incident, gather evidence, and identify all potentially liable parties. We want to help you recover the compensation you deserve for your medical expenses, lost income, and other losses.

Celebrate Safely This Summer

Summer celebrations are a time for joy, family, and friends. By understanding firework laws, prioritizing safety, and knowing your legal rights, you can enjoy the festivities while minimizing the risk of accidents and legal consequences.

If you or someone you love has been affected by a firework accident, contact Carden Dotzler Hammond, PLLC, today. Our compassionate and experienced attorneys are here to guide you through the legal process and fight for your rights. We serve clients throughout Syracuse and Central New York and are dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for your case.

About the Author
David is a former military prosecutor and defense lawyer with over a decade of experience fighting for service members and their families. He served nine years and two combat tours as an active duty US Army officer, then joined the Reserves and settled down in Syracuse to be near family. Now representing people across Central New York charged with serious felonies, misdemeanors, DWIs, and traffic offenses, he puts the same level of commitment into his civilian law practice. If you have any questions regarding this article, you can contact David here.