We at Kaplan lawyers PC hope that you had a happy and healthy 4th of July. Truly a proud and fun-filled day for America, the “4th” is best known for barbecues sprouting up across backyards everywhere by day, and then firework shows painting the scenery of the night. However, it is important to always keep in mind that fireworks are just as dangerous as they are beautiful, and should be used under careful, diligent supervision, preferably by professionals. Because every year, amateur firework-users ended up maimed, blinded, or worse.
This Years’ Firework Injuries
Jason Pierre-Paul, known affectionately by fans as “JPP,” is a defensive end on the NFL’s New York Giants. Over the holiday weekend, he injured both of his hands while using fireworks. Four days later, it was determined by medical professionals that, as a result of the injury, the index finger on his right hand had to be amputated. Besides the very obvious physical danger that JPP placed himself in, and besides the resultant grievous bodily injury, is the matter of his career, which may now be in jeopardy. JPP and the New York Giants were in the midst of contract negotiations, and the two were hoping to reach an accord that would keep JPP in NY for years to come. And while there is precedent of NFL players maintaining successful careers post-finger amputation, there is no guarantee that Jason Pierre-Paul will star again, with the Giants, or at his same high level of play. Which makes his decision to utilize fireworks in an unsafe manner a doubly inadvisable move.
The sad fact, though, is that not all who forego proper firework safety are as lucky as the two-time Pro Bowler. Because whereas JPP must now only face career uncertainty, 22-year old Devon Staples tragically lost his life. A Maine resident with a reputation for being a jocular and fun-loving guy, Staples made the fatally unwise decision of placing a mortar on his head and lighting the fuse. When the rocket launched, he was killed instantly.
It seems that every year there are horror stories regarding the improper use of fireworks and the sometimes fatal outcome of treating hazardous explosives like unserious toys. Why are Americans so insistent on harming themselves by underestimating the power of fireworks?
Firework Safety Tips
In fact, lawmakers across the country are very aware of this national problem. Some statesmen believe the legalization of fireworks in their jurisdiction will create jobs and drum up revenue. Whether or not this is worth it is the retaliatory question posed by detractors. The sum-up is that consumer firework legality is very much in flux nationwide, with the split currently sitting at 26 states to 24 states, legal to illegal, respectively. There are many intricate subordinated clauses dictating further the rules regarding different classes and types of fireworks.
If you want to be part of the solution, and not the problem, memorize some of the following firework safety tips (per the National Council on Fireworks Safety) and keep them in mind all summer, and next Fourth of July:
- The first rule should be obvious- don’t use illegal fireworks! If fireworks are illegal in your state, then you are out of luck. End of story. The fireworks you purchase in states where fireworks are not illegal may be shoddily made, illicit rip-offs prone to misfiring, mistiming, or other calamity.
- Read all of the advisory rules and regulations posted on both the box and the firework itself before using the firework in question.
- This is another obvious one- only light fireworks outdoors. But also in clear, open spaces far from buildings, vehicles, groups of non-participatory people and, of course, flammable substances.
- Never try and re-light a “dud” firework. It is important to always have a ready-to-go hose nearby, or a large bucket of water. If a firework doesn’t “go off,” wait 20 minutes then douse it with the available water.
Kaplan Lawyers PC
Fireworks have been symbolic of America’s greatness as far back as 1777. Back then, bonfires, cannons, and rifles were also used as bombastic displays of jubilation by an American people celebrating their newfound independence. But fireworks, much alike their brethren bonfires, cannons, and rifles, carry with them a danger. As such, they should be used with no shortage of caution. They should be treated with respect and handled exclusively by adults. There are certain situations, however, where general negligence or ignorance of the rules on behalf of someone else causes you or a loved one to sustain an injury. In these cases, it may become necessary to retain legal counsel in order to figure out the best steps to take for attempting to win legal compensation. Compensation that will help cover your medical bills and allow you to focus on recovering from your wounds. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we are here to help you through your time of need. Our consultations are easy, informative, and always free. So contact us today.