This Fourth of July, many Florida residents will enjoy fireworks shows at parks and other venues. Others will buy fireworks for use at their own celebrations. However, fireworks can cause legal problems if they are purchased or used improperly. In addition, misused fireworks can lead to devastating injuries for innocent victims.
What Do I Need To Know About Purchasing Fireworks for Use In Florida?
Each state makes its own rules regarding the purchase and use of various types of fireworks. Florida has very strict rules about which fireworks are allowed for purchase by those who do not have a special fireworks permit. The average person is only allowed to legally purchase and use fireworks that fall into the category of “sparklers.” Sparklers include the typical hand-held sparklers as well as “fountains,” “snakes” and “glow worms.” Any reputable vendor can help consumers understand which fireworks are legal for purchase and use; the Florida Fire Marshal also publishes an approved list.
While some stores will sell other types of fireworks to anyone willing to sign a waiver, this activity is illegal. Unless you have a special permit, you are not allowed to purchase Roman candles, bottle rockets or any type of firework that explodes or “lifts off” from the ground. Those who are caught illegally purchasing or using fireworks in Florida face a $1,000 fine and a sentence of up to one year in prison for each offense.
How To Stay Safe Around Fireworks
The problem with many fireworks is that they can be unpredictable. They can veer off their intended course and hit a person or object, causing serious injury and damage. While homeowner’s insurance policies often cover fireworks-related damage, the company may refuse to pay if someone is using fireworks illegally.
Many insurance policies exclude the illegal use of fireworks by those without a permit, or damage caused in the commission of a crime. Read policies carefully before assuming that any property will be covered. Additionally, be sure to read carefully the exclusions for bodily injury sustained in locations away from the home, such as while traveling.
What Should I Do If I Am Injured in a Fireworks Accident?
The steps taken after a fireworks injury depend on the nature and location of the accident. If the victim has been injured at a public location during a professional fireworks show, the company should be carrying liability insurance that covers the injury. On the other hand, if someone is injured by a person using illegal fireworks at home or at the beach, it may be more difficult to recover compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and other costs.
Those who have been injured by fireworks, whether at home or in a public location, should seek immediate medical help. Fireworks can cause serious burns as well as other injuries that can affect the victim’s overall health and ability to work. Once the injuries have been documented and treated, the victim may wish to consult a personal injury attorney about recovering compensation.