Every year, nearly 13,000 people are injured by fireworks. Most of those fireworks are legal, though injuries may result from the negligent actions of another person. In those cases, there may be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
Calculating the Worth of Firework-Related Injuries
Personal injury lawsuits resulting from fireworks include various types of damages. As such, if you’ve been injured by negligent use of fireworks, or if the fireworks used were defective, you may be entitled to the following:
The costs of emergency care, surgeries, doctors’ visits, and any other medical treatment resulting from a fireworks injury would be covered by personal injury damages. Typically, you’ll need to wait until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) before calculating these.
Lost time from work
If your injury keeps you from work, you’re entitled to compensation for any wages lost during that time.
Lost earning capacity
Additionally, if you’re rendered permanently disabled by your injury and can no longer work in the same job as before, you should be able to recover damages for lost future earnings as well.
Pain and suffering
While the above damages are easy enough to calculate, damages for pain and suffering are more nebulous. Typically, your economic damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) are multiplied by a number based on the severity of your pain and suffering to arrive at this amount, though a per diem method may also be used.
In rare cases where the offending party acted in a particularly egregious or willful manner, such as deliberately setting off fireworks unsafely or knowingly endangering others, punitive damages may also be assessed. These can total to fairly high values, but they don’t apply to most personal injury cases.
Limiting Factors in Fireworks Accidents
While there are a number of ways to calculate how much your case is technically worth, there are some factors that may limit how much you might recover for your injuries. These include the following.
Defendant’s ability to pay
In cases where the defendant (the party who caused your injury) doesn’t carry enough insurance to cover damages, you’ll likely be limited in how much you’ll be able to recover from them. In product liability cases or cases where the defendant is an insured professional, this probably won’t be as much of an issue.
Inability to prove negligence
If you’re not able to prove negligence on the part of the defendant, then you’ll likely have a hard time pursuing any damages at all. If your case seems a little shaky, the defendant will likely be able to negotiate for a lower settlement.
This can be especially difficult in cases where your injury resulted from faulty fireworks since pinning down who is responsible—and therefore who acted negligently—is much more difficult.
Often, the difference between a successful lawsuit and an unsuccessful (or even just mediocre) one is your attorney. It’s important to have a skilled personal injury lawyer at your side throughout the process, so choose carefully.
Hart David Carson LLP can provide the legal representation you need if you’ve been injured by faulty or misused fireworks.