A Fourth of July accident sent 28 people to the hospital when the planned fireworks display detonated on the ground.
The explosion occurred about 9:30 p.m. at a park in Simi Valley, California. Witnesses recounted that "bits and pieces of the fireworks rained down on the people who were in the front," reports Los Angeles' KABC-TV.
Fireworks injuries are common, but not usually of this magnitude. As a result, the fireworks show's coordinators could be facing major liability if the injured spectators decide to sue.
Accident Caused by Platform Collapse
Officials stated that the fireworks show, which was sponsored by the Rancho Simi Recreation and Parks Department, went awry when a platform that held the various gunpowder shells collapsed, aiming the still igniting fireworks toward the crowd, KABC reports.
It is likely that the 28 injured in the explosion will sue the parties responsible for setting up the fireworks display for negligence.
Another possible defendant in future lawsuits by those burned would be the fireworks' manufacturer, who might be to blame for any fault or defect that caused the dangerous explosions.
Medical Costs From Firework Injuries
Although the full extent of the Simi Valley fireworks injuries is still being realized, fireworks accidents often cause injuries like temporary or permanent blindness and eye damage, loss of limbs and digits, broken bones, scarring, and severe burns.
Serious injuries from the explosion -- including "shrapnel-like injuries or burns," according to the Los Angeles Times -- may require skin grafts or extended physical therapy, and these treatments will not come cheap.
That's one reason victims could potentially try to sue the Rancho Simi Recreation and Parks Department for negligently supervising the event, hoping that the municipal entity's deeper pockets will help cover their hospital bills.
Safety Tips for Next Year
The Fourth of July accident in Simi Valley was not the result of your average home fireworks show going wrong, but here are some safety tips to make sure your own fireworks display goes right:
- Always have water on hand. Toss expired fireworks in a full bucket of water and be ready to douse any possible fires.
- Don't relight duds. If a firework doesn't go off after lighting, don't try to reignite it. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in water.
- Don't mix alcohol and fireworks. Injuries can happen even when you're sober, so don't try to shoot off something explosive while intoxicated.
- Don't use homemade fireworks. It won't impress your friends to have homemade "local" fireworks and it may prove deadly.
Finally, if you want to watch the fireworks at a local park, make sure that you're a safe distance from the point of ignition and try not to let fear of horrible burns ruin your holiday.
- Simi Valley, California July 4 fireworks accident injures 28 (Reuters)
- Fireworks Accident Claims Man's Testicle (FindLaw's Injured)
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- 4 Fireworks Laws to Know for July Fourth (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)