Firework Injuries and the Law


Neil John, Partner Civil Litigation

firework injuries

In early November many people will be going to watch a fireworks display, either at a public event in their local town or at the house of a friend or family member.

There are many traditions associated with this season such as bonfires and toffee apples. There is also a prevalence of safety campaigns warning of the dangers of mishandling fireworks. However, despite these campaigns, thousands of people in the UK are injured by fireworks every year.

If you are injured by a firework, the consequences can be life-changing and you may want to know whether you can receive compensation for your injuries. Damages may be awarded for the injuries and symptoms or scarring that follow as well as to cover lost income, medical costs and other expenses incurred due to the injury,.

Public events, such as your local town’s annual firework display should follow HSE safety guidance such as having safety barriers and trained fireworks operators to minimise the chances of a spectator getting injured and are required to ensure the premises are reasonably safe for the lawful visitors’ use under the Occupiers Liability Act, 1957. If you are injured at an event like this, you may have grounds to make a claim because the organisers have a responsibility to keep spectators safe. They are also likely to have public liability insurance.

Injuries are more likely at private parties as they are unregulated. Fireworks are usually set off by people who haven’t had safety training and who may have limited experience of handling fireworks. Other factors that make injuries more likely include the consumption of alcohol and insufficient space to keep at a safe distance from the fireworks. The host could potentially be held responsible for any injuries received at an event like this.

What should you do if you are injured by someone illegally throwing a firework in the street? This is a criminal matter and should always be reported to the police. You may also be entitled to compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) who handles cases like these.

If you are injured by a defective or faulty firework, it may be possible to make a claim against the seller, manufacturer or importer of the firework. In this case, the onus will be on you to prove that the firework was faulty. It is therefore strongly recommended that you keep the remains of the firework, the packaging that the firework came in as well as instructions and the purchase receipt.

We understand that making a claim can be expensive and time consuming, so where there is a reasonable chance of success, Fraser Dawbarns offers a no win no fee arrangement and are happy to discuss any personal injury matters if you are unsure whether you have a claim.

Firework parties can be a lot of fun and Fraser Dawbarns wishes everyone an enjoyable evening, regardless of which event you are attending. We would like to remind everyone to be vigilant, stay safe and make sure that any vulnerable people are protected.