It’s impossible to picture a Fourth of July celebration that doesn’t feature a dazzling display of fireworks exploding across the night sky. But while fireworks are a beloved American tradition iconic of our independence and patriotism, they can also be incredibly dangerous when misused, mislabeled, defective, or improperly discarded. Even though accidents can be avoided with a few basic safety precautions, fireworks continue to cause thousands of preventable injuries every year, especially during summer around the Fourth of July.
If you or your child was injured by fireworks in the Oklahoma City area, you may be able to recover compensation for the resulting medical bills, income losses, pain and suffering, and other hardships caused by your injuries. The attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook can help. We have more than 75 years of combined legal experience representing injury victims throughout the Oklahoma City area, including Okarche, Mustang, and Choctaw. To learn more about your legal options in a free and confidential consultation, call our law offices at (405) 698-3040 today.
Injury and Death Statistics: What Fireworks Cause the Most Accidents?
A recent U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report found the following facts about fireworks-related deaths and injuries:
- Fireworks were responsible for approximately 10,500 injuries requiring hospitalization in 2014. Most of them – about 7,000 – took place between June 20 and July 20.
- A total of 11 people were killed by fireworks in 2014: four from fires and seven from direct blows.
- Children and teenagers are especially prone to accidents. Children under age 15 accounted for more than one third of the injuries documented in 2014, while children aged five to nine were more likely than children in any other age group to require hospitalization.
- Males are about three times more likely to be injured by fireworks than females: 74% to 26%.
- Believe it or not, sparklers actually pose a far greater danger than bottlerockets, with the former causing 14 times more injuries than the latter (1,400 to 100). The report also tracked estimated injuries caused by:
- Roman candles (300)
- Fountains (100)
- Novelties (400)
- Reloadable shells (600)
- Illegal fireworks (400)
- Five body areas made up an estimated 89% of all injuries. The body parts most frequently injured were the:
- Fingers and/or hands (36%)
- Face, head, and/or ears (19%)
- Eyes (19%)
- Legs (10%)
- Arms (5%)
- Just over half of all injury victims requiring hospitalization were hospitalized for burns, which were the most common injury caused by fireworks for all parts of the body except the eyes, which were more likely to be cut or punctured by flying debris.
- Other than burns, leading injuries included:
- Cuts and bruises (17%)
- Sprains and bone fractures/broken bones (5%)
- Common causes of accidents identified by the report included:
- Firework malfunctions (26%)
- Lighting fireworks improperly (6%)
- Lighting fireworks too close to other people (3%)
If your injuries were caused by another person’s intoxicated, reckless, illegal, or irresponsible use of fireworks, he or she may be liable for compensating your expenses.
Are Fireworks Legal in OK? How Are They Regulated? What Types Are Banned?
Every state has its own set of laws regulating the use of fireworks. The state of Oklahoma permits the purchase and use of fireworks under certain conditions, restricted to certain locations. Listed below are some important fireworks laws in Oklahoma:
- Bottlerockets are prohibited in Oklahoma under 68 O.S. § 1624(a). Additionally, 68 O.S. § 1624(b) prohibits all consumer fireworks which are not properly labeled. Other fireworks banned in Oklahoma include cherry bombs and M80s.
- 68 O.S. § 1624.1 makes it unlawful to sell, distribute, light, or in any way use aerial luminaries, colloquially called “sky lanterns,” “flying luminaries,” “sky candles,” or “fire balloons.” While not explosive, sky lanterns can start fires if they land in someone’s yard, or snag a branch on somebody’s personal property, while still lit.
- Under 68 O.S. § 1627(a), it is unlawful to sell, deliver, or distribute fireworks in Oklahoma without the appropriate license. The retailer’s license must be posted in a prominent location.
- Under 68 O.S. § 1627(b), it is unlawful for retailers to sell fireworks to children under 12 years old unless they are accompanied by a legal adult. The same section also prohibits selling fireworks to intoxicated people.
- 68 O.S. § 1627(c) prohibits lighting or throwing fireworks at or from a car, and at or near groups of people. It also prohibits lighting or setting off fireworks within 500 feet of a(n):
- Agricultural crop (if it is flammable and has not yet been harvested)
- Place where fireworks are stored or sold
- Public school
These laws regulate firework use throughout the state of Oklahoma. Many cities, however, have adopted additional local ordinances further regulating or outright banning usage. It is illegal to use fireworks in the following Oklahoma cities without the appropriate permit:
- Del City
- Oklahoma City
- Midwest City
An Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyer of Hasbrook & Hasbrook Can Look Into Your Case
If you or one of your family members was injured in a fireworks accident in Oklahoma, you may be entitled to compensation depending on what caused the accident to occur. Call the law offices of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 to set up a free legal consultation today.