Legal Edge: Lawyer breaks down laws surrounding fireworks

Legal Edge

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Over 10,000 people go to the emergency room due to fireworks related injuries each year – most of which occur around the Fourth of July.

Local lawyer Bryan Waldman breaks down how liability works when it comes to fireworks.

“The cases that you commonly see, it may be a situation where there’s just not enough distance between the crowds and the individuals that are setting off the commercial fireworks or public display, or maybe they don’t take into account the direction of the wind or the severity,” said Waldman.

“Well, individuals and homeowners, even if you’re not the one setting off the fireworks, but it’s being done on your property, you need to be really careful, you know, in addition to causing a large number of injuries.”

The homeowner has an obligation to supervise fireworks being set off on their property, said Waldman.

He advises keeping necessary emergency equipment on site, such as a fire extinguisher.

You also shouldn’t attempt to relight or set off a dud, as that can often result in unexpected injury. Dispose of all fireworks carefully.

“We actually had a case where someone disposed of it in a fire pit that was not lit at it. But then when the fire pit eventually was lit, three people were very seriously injured because the Fireworks exploded while people were gathered around the fire pit.”

Sometimes fire works will not function properly and they may go off inadvertently and it can be due to a manufacturing defect. Those instances can lead to what are called product liability claims against the manufacturer. The difficulty with those claims often with fireworks is they’re manufactured in a foreign country and the evidence is destroyed as, as part of the explosion. So it’s difficult to find out who the manufacturer actually is. There can also be product liability claims against the seller under a theory called the implied warranty, which essentially means that when you sell a product has to be fit for its intended use, Waldman said.

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