Just before the Fourth of July last summer, then-Governor Chris Christie legalized the use of certain firework products including hand-held sparklers, ground sparklers, party poppers, and snappers. The bill that legalized the sale and purchase of these products requires that the consumer be at least 16 years of age to purchase these products. While this bill expanded the use of firework-related products in the state, it maintained the prohibition of all other fireworks including sky rockets, bottle rockets, and all other explosive and aerial firework devices.
While fireworks are illegal throughout the state, many people purchase them in states where it is legal to purchase fireworks and bring them back to New Jersey to set them off. The use of fireworks is especially prevalent in the summer months, kicking off with Memorial Day and peaking each Fourth of July. Many people who are unqualified to handle fireworks participate in their use, which can lead to dangerous circumstances and significant injuries to operators and viewers alike.
Because fireworks are considered an explosive device, they can often prove to be unpredictable. Furthermore, when they are set off by those who are not experienced in handling these devices, the risk of injury is elevated as they can easily be set off incorrectly.
Operating fireworks can cause burns and blisters to the hands or other parts of the body, and can also leave many splinters in your hands when they explode. When a firework goes off, it spits out hundreds of sharp, dangerous particles that can find their way onto your hands, fingers, and eyes. These particles can pierce the eye and cause burns or even lead to the complete loss of vision. They can also result in deep cuts to the hands or other parts of the body which can tear tendons and ligaments, or even break bones. Some of the most severe injuries that result from firework use include amputation of fingers or limbs, vision loss, and hearing loss.
If you still choose to use fireworks, it is important to keep in mind the following to avoid serious injury:
- Keep children away from fireworks. It is recommended that those not operating the devices remain at least 500 feet away from the set-off point. This also includes sparklers, which many people allow their children to operate. Sparklers reach extremely high temperatures and go off quickly. They can even explode right in your hands. Because they are typically held as they go off, they can easily cause burns and injuries to the face and arms.
- Set the fireworks off in a clear, outdoor space. Sparks from fireworks or the firework itself can land in trees or on the rooftops of houses. It is important to keep a hose or fire extinguisher handy to put out any small fires that may occur while also being sure to avoid setting off the device near any wooded area or homes to prevent major damage.
- Report the Unsafe Use of Fireworks. The vast majority of fireworks in New Jersey are illegal. You may report their use to authorities, especially if you noticed they are being used in an unsafe manner. Doing so may help to prevent a serious firework injury or property damage.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a firework, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention as well as an experienced personal injury attorney. The use of fireworks by someone who is not a professional is illegal in the state of New Jersey, which may bring rise to a personal injury case if you have been injured as a result of firework misuse. Rinaldo Law Group LLC consists of many experienced New Jersey personal injury lawyers who may be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call 1-833-RINALDO.