Injured by fireworks? Know your rights!

Posted by Patrick J. Walsh | Jul 09, 2024 | 0 Comments

As we enjoy the summer season, many in Connecticut look forward to festive fireworks displays, as an iconic part of our celebrations. However, it's crucial to be aware of Connecticut's stringent fireworks laws to ensure safety and compliance.

Connecticut's Definitions Relating to Fireworks: Connecticut General statute (GCS) 29-356

(1) “Fireworks” means and includes any combustible or explosive composition, or any substance or combination of substances or article prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or an audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration or detonation, and includes blank cartridges, toy pistols, toy cannons, toy canes or toy guns in which explosives are used, the type of balloons which require fire underneath to propel the same, firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, Roman candles, Daygo bombs, and any fireworks containing any explosive or flammable compound, or any tablets or other device containing any explosive substance, except that the term “fireworks” shall not include sparklers and fountains and toy pistols, toy canes, toy guns or other devices in which paper caps manufactured in accordance with the regulations of the United States Interstate Commerce Commission or its successor agency for packing and shipping of toy paper caps are used and toy pistol paper caps manufactured as provided therein.

(2) “Sparklers” means a wire or stick coated with pyrotechnic composition that produces a shower of sparks upon ignition.

(3) “Fountain” means any cardboard or heavy paper cone or cylindrical tube containing pyrotechnic mixture that upon ignition produces a shower of colored sparks or smoke. “Fountain” includes, but is not limited to, (A) a spike fountain, which provides a spike for insertion into the ground, (B) a base fountain which has a wooden or plastic base for placing on the ground, or (C) a handle fountain which is a handheld device with a wooden or cardboard handle.

Connecticut's Fireworks Regulations In Connecticut, fireworks are primarily regulated under CGS Section 29-357 which prohibits individuals, other than licensed professionals, from possessing, using, or detonating any fireworks. The term "fireworks" encompasses any explosive composition, substance, or device intended to produce a visible or audible effect.

Permitted Fireworks in Connecticut While most personal use of fireworks is forbidden, Connecticut does allow sparklers and fountains that meet specific requirements. Per CGS Section 29-358, sparklers and fountains can be used if they do not contain explosive or flammable compounds, with sparklers not exceeding 100 grams of pyrotechnic composition and fountains similarly capped, both needing to be ground-based.
Licensing for Fireworks Displays To legally handle or display fireworks, individuals or businesses in Connecticut must secure the appropriate licenses and permits issued by the State of Connecticut. These licenses are mandatory for anyone wishing to operate as a pyrotechnic display operator or to conduct public fireworks displays.

Liability Issues in Connecticut Fireworks Use Understanding the liability associated with fireworks is vital. In cases of injury or property damage resulting from fireworks, the responsible parties can face significant legal repercussions.

Personal Injury: Despite strict regulations, fireworks accidents can and do still occur, leading to devastating personal injuries. Victims might claim damages due to negligent use, manufacturing defects, or non-compliance with safety protocols.
Property Damage: Fireworks are known to cause substantial property damage. If damages occur, the responsible party could be held accountable for costs incurred. 
Noise Complaints: Fireworks can lead to noise complaints, especially during holidays. Local ordinances may dictate specific rules regarding noise levels and times of operation, and non-compliance can lead to fines or other penalties.

Safety Tips for Handling Fireworks To enjoy fireworks safely and legally in Connecticut, consider these guidelines:

Attend Public Displays: Opt for public displays conducted by licensed professionals, ensuring safety and compliance instead of your friend's backyard fireworks.
Adhere to Instructions: If using legal sparklers or fountains, follow all manufacturer instructions precisely. Do not modify legal sparklers or fountains as it increases the risk of accidents and serious injuries.
Prepare for Emergencies: Keep water nearby to manage any stray sparks or malfunctioning fireworks. Ensure fireworks are used in open spaces, away from potential fire hazards.

Call our experienced team for legal advice related to fireworks incidents in Connecticut. With over 35 years of experience handling fireworks-related cases, Hastings, Cohan and Walsh understands the intricacies of Connecticut's fireworks laws and the severe consequences of devastating injury which results from non-compliance. If you or someone you know has been affected by a fireworks-related incident, it's crucial to seek experienced legal counsel to navigate potential claims and secure justice. Hastings, Cohan and Walsh is dedicated to supporting victims and ensuring responsible parties are held accountable. 

About the Author

Patrick J. Walsh

Patrick J. Walsh has ranked on National Trial Lawyers' Top 100 Trial Lawyers for the past several years and received the Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction Award twice. Practicing law for over 23 years.


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