4th of July: The day is celebrated by parades, fireworks and barbecues across the country. Independence Day is celebrated in acknowledgement of the Declaration of Independence being approved by the Continental Congress in 1776, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom and liberty.
Fireworks have become a symbol in the commemoration of our independence on the 4th of July, and they play a major role in American’s celebration of this day. Seeing fireworks shoot off in the sky brings fond moments, as bright lights flash in a glittery display for all to see; but, if not used with safety and caution, fireworks can cause harmful situations, resulting in serious damages and injury to those involved.
Fireworks not only have damaging effects on property, but also heighten the risk for injury; this is especially true under the influence of alcohol. Firework personal injury claims are especially high in the month of July. Florida fireworks are not only illegal but may result in severe hand, body, arm and/or leg injuries, or even worse, it can result in death.
In Florida, it is illegal to buy, sell, or explode consumer fireworks. You can do so, however, if you have a city permit. Be aware that if you are shooting off fireworks without a permit, you are breaking the law, which may result in unnecessary fines and a possible police investigation. If law enforcement decides to crack down and you’re caught buying or shooting off illegal fireworks, it is a first-degree misdemeanor.
It is important to be aware that most of the fireworks sold in Florida are illegal. Consumers are usually unaware that the only fireworks that are allowed for personal use without obtaining a special county permit are those classified as “sparklers”. This category of “sparklers” includes a very limited amount of incendiary items.
Legally, the fireworks merchants have their customers sign liability waivers explaining that the fireworks are illegal for personal use; the costumer attests that he is aware of the illegality of the purchase, and signs that he will be using the fireworks for a legal purpose. The legal purpose for use of these consumer fireworks only includes the following:
(A) you have a city permit to shoot off fireworks for the public to enjoy;
(B) you will use the explosives to scare off birds from a farm or fish hatchery; or
(C) you work on a railroad and need to light or clear a path for your train.
These reasons are rarely examined by the purchasers, and most times the customer makes the purchase unaware of the consequences of their illegal use. The reason that persons continue to make the fireworks purchases is because they are unaware, and the law is rarely enforced.
If you or a loved one is injured while using or observing fireworks celebrations, call Blick Law Firm to schedule a free 15 minute consultation.