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On April 26, 2023, the Pennsylvania State Legislature created a new state holiday to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights.[1] This popular holiday, celebrated by Indian Americans worldwide, includes a meal with friends, music, and firecrackers. It has proven to be so popular that all Pennsylvanians have been invited to join in. Many states in the US are in the process of adding this enjoyable holiday to their state calendars, as well.

Celebrations are opportunities for fun and relaxation; however, with the addition of firecrackers or fireworks, there is an element of safety concern and the risk of burns that come with firecrackers and fireworks. Some states ban firecrackers and fireworks altogether, while many states, such as Pennsylvania, require residents to be 18 or older before buying and using "consumer grade" firecrackers or fireworks.

Fireworks and firecrackers are considered to be safe by authorities when used as indicated by the manufacturer. Recent Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) statistics tell a slightly different story. In 2022, an estimated 10,200 people were injured in fireworks-related accidents.[2] Most concerning, approximately 38% of those injuries were suffered by children and teens between the ages of 10 and 15. Each of those children was below the legal age to purchase or use firecrackers.

firecrackers and freedom: are american holidays safe

Personal Injuries Caused by Firecrackers

Unsafe actions when lighting or holding firecrackers can quickly cause injuries because of the damages caused by burns, even the smallest of burns. In addition to property damage, the cost for injuries sustained by firecrackers can be significantly high, including emergency rooms, doctors, medications, and treatments, all of which result in cumulative bills in the thousands. Assessing the costs and the environment that led to the injury may compel the injured individual or family members to consider an experienced personal injury attorney. Often, because of the situation in which the injury occurred, a personal injury attorney is absolutely required.

For example, if firecrackers and igniters, matches, or cigarette lighters are left unattended by an adult, they are easily accessible by children and young teens. And, if safety instructions aren't given to party attendees, the owner of the property may bear the responsibility for any injuries and the costs of obtaining medical treatments. These are considerations to be taken seriously and, if needed, an experienced personal attorney may be necessary to adequately represent the parties involved.

The Cost of Firecracker Injuries

During any celebration, there will be a number of partygoers who choose to enjoy firecrackers as spectators. For those who want to light and display their firecrackers, the risks for injuries may be unknown. However, injuries can be serious, especially to fingers, hands, arms, eyes, and facial areas. For children and teens under the age of 18, the risks are greater because many do not know how to safely use firecrackers. This is the point where costs can exponentially mount higher and higher, as children may have not received instructions and are unaware of the limits of use. In addition to tossing firecrackers, children often hold them too closely or run with them. And, because they aren't aware of the risks, some children and teens toss firecrackers on each other or onto flammable paper decor items. The risks and outcomes may add up to significant consequences and the costs that come with them.

How Can A Personal Injury Attorney Help?

First, if you aren't sure if you need an attorney, call an experienced personal injury attorney to determine the answer to your uncertainty. It is critical to get specific answers to your questions. When the injuries suffered may require ongoing care, therapy, rehabilitation, or reconstructive surgery, you will want to choose a personal injury attorney who can look ahead and accurately estimate future costs. Such questions need to be answered straight away. In addition to asking questions, you'll want to know if a personal injury attorney has litigated injury cases that are similar to yours and how those cases were resolved. A past history of similar injury cases and supporting information will build your confidence in the attorney who will represent you or a family member.

If an injury has been caused by fireworks or firecrackers, there are other issues that may add to personal injury compensation. A personal injury attorney can help by suggesting those that apply. Depending on the state in which you reside, financial compensation may include disfigurement and scarring, emotional pain, stress, embarrassment, mental anguish, and a reduction in the likelihood of marriage. Many individuals do not consider these secondary outcomes or long-term issues as part of a personal injury, but they most certainly can be. Again, the applicable issues may be included in any personal injury case, if state law allows. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to fully explain how these factors fit into the equation.

Firecrackers & Freedom: Are American Holidays Safe?

As is true in many aspects of life in America, when firecrackers and fireworks are used by those who are old enough to safely handle them, understand the risks, and use them responsibly, firecrackers are safe. When mishandled, used for alternate purposes, tossed onto another individual or lit by children, the risk of injuries exists.

Americans love freedom, especially on holidays, and the beauty of fireworks and firecrackers can't be denied. Indian Americans who have loved Diwali for many years are now offering this beautiful and joyful celebration to thousands of others for their enjoyment. The key to fully participating and bringing others into such celebrations is to do so with safety at the same time.

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