Every July 4, families across Georgia gather to celebrate Independence Day with dazzling fireworks displays. While it’s a time for fun and community, fireworks, including the personal use variety, can also pose significant risks. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 43 percent of tested fireworks products were found to be noncompliant with safety standards. These violations included fuse violations, the presence of prohibited chemicals, burnout or blowout incidents and pyrotechnic materials overload.

The stark reality of fireworks injuries

The thrill of fireworks can quickly turn to tragedy if safety is compromised. The CPSC’s most recent fireworks report reveals that fireworks were involved in an estimated 10,200 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during the calendar year 2022. The parts of the body most often injured were:

  • Hands and fingers: 29%
  • Head, face, and ears: 19%
  • Legs: 19%
  • Eyes: 16%
  • Trunk/other regions: 12%
  • Arms: 5%

Injuries can range from minor burns to severe trauma, leading to long-term consequences for victims.

Understanding product liability in Georgia

In Georgia, product liability laws are designed to protect consumers from defective and dangerous products. When a product causes harm, the manufacturer, distributor or retailer can be held liable under three main types of product liability claims:

  • Design defects: These occur when a product’s design is inherently unsafe. Even if the product is manufactured correctly, its design can still pose a risk to consumers.
  • Manufacturing defects: These defects occur during the production process. A product might be designed safely but becomes dangerous due to errors at the factory, whether caused by human mistakes or mechanical failures.
  • Marketing defects (Failure to Warn): These involve inadequate instructions or warnings about the product’s proper use. If consumers are not properly informed about the risks associated with a product, they can be seriously injured.

Fireworks are a prime example of products that can fall under any of these categories. For instance, fuse violations could be considered a design defect if the fuse is too short or burns too quickly, not allowing enough time for the user to retreat to a safe distance. The presence of prohibited chemicals can constitute a manufacturing defect, making the fireworks more volatile and dangerous than intended. Burnout or blowout incidents and pyrotechnic materials overload can also fall under manufacturing defects, as these issues arise from problems during the production process.

Steps to take if injured by defective fireworks

  • Seek medical attention: Your health and safety should be your top priority. Seek immediate medical attention for any injuries sustained. Even if the injuries initially seem minor, they can become infected and lead to much more serious issues if not addressed quickly.
  • Preserve evidence: Keep the defective product and any packaging or instructions that came with it. Take photographs of the product, your injuries and the accident scene.
  • Report the incident: Notify the CPSC and the retailer where you purchased the fireworks. Reporting the incident can help prevent others from being harmed by the same product. It also can help bolster your legal case for compensation for your injuries.

If you or a loved one has been injured by defective fireworks, Georgia’s product liability laws are designed to help assure compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. But a building and arguing a solid case isn’t easy. At Farrar, Hennesy & Tanner, we have extensive experience handling product liability cases, including those involving defective fireworks.

Don’t let the negligence of manufacturers or distributors go unchallenged. If you or a loved one has suffered due to defective fireworks or other hazardous products, contact us today. Call us at 912-384-2287 or request a free case review online.

Stay safe and informed and enjoy your celebrations responsibly.


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