November 7, 2019

Florida’s fireworks regulations have repeatedly come under scrutiny by legislators and residents. Currently, “firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, roman candles … and any fireworks containing any explosives or flammable compound or any tablets or other device containing any explosive substance” are banned for sale, even as such prohibitions haven’t stopped illegal fireworks from being shot off. 

In order to buy fireworks in the Sunshine State you have to sign a form declaring you’ll use them to illuminate railroads or scare away birds. Don’t laugh – that’s actually the law. (Under Florida law, devices such as sparklers are legal for Floridians to buy.)

Individuals can buy and use aerial and explosive devices if they sign a waiver saying they will use the fireworks for certain agricultural purposes, specifically for “frightening birds from agricultural work and fish hatcheries.”  As you can imagine, rarely do Floridians who sign the form use fireworks for such purposes. 

In an effort to allow Floridians to add a little sparkle during the Fourth of July holiday and other celebrations, a pair of new proposals would allow individuals to pledge to use the fireworks “solely and exclusively” during one of three designated holidays.  

The push to make the sale of fireworks legal on Independence Day, Memorial Day, and New Year’s Eve is being spearheaded by Sen. Travis Hutson, a St. Augustine Republican, and Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez, R-Doral.  The duo have filed legislation (SB 140, HB 65) for consideration during the 2020 legislative session, which begins Jan. 14.

State lawmakers over the years have tried and failed to amend the statute regulating the use and sale of fireworks in Florida, from repealing the ban altogether to proposing changes to the legal waiver. 

Fireworks are explosives that have the potential to cause serious bodily harm. Fireworks are also responsible for starting fires that destroy homes and property. When you bring explosives into the mix, things can go sideways very fast for people and their property.  

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2017, an estimated 12,900 injuries were treated in U.S. hospitals that were a direct result of firework accidents. Some of the more common injuries associated with firework accidents include:

  • Burns
  • Eye Injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Loss of fingers or toes
  • Loss of hearing
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Disfigurement
  • Scarring
  • Emotional trauma

It is important to know if your insurance policy covers damage from fireworks and fires. When fireworks are defectively designed or manufactured, the injuries people and their property sustain can be devastating. Fireworks can be used in a negligent or careless way, or used by unauthorized or inexperienced individuals.

If you are injured by a firework, whether from a product malfunctioning or as a spectator, the manufacturer, distributor, or fireworks user may be liable for your injuries.  Moreover, if your property is damaged due to fireworks and fires, you should contact a lawyer

Corless Barfield Trial Group has extensive experience litigating fireworks claims, products liability cases, and property damage insurance disputes. Call 813-258-4998 today for a free consultation.