Common Legal Questions: Claiming Compensation for a Firework Injury
Posted on 8th November 2019
It’s that time of year again, and, no, we’re not talking about Christmas (yet); we’re talking about bonfire night. Gracing us on the 5th November every year, bonfire night is the night that most of us trudge to our local field/rugby club/park/friend’s house, to heat ourselves by a smoky fire, and watch a display or, usually under-whelming, fireworks.
Some years, for some unknown reason that we’ll probably come to regret, we may end up deciding to host our own bonfire night show. We want it to be the best, the biggest and the brightest home-show our friends have ever seen, but how do we do this and make sure we’re still staying legal?
First things first, you must be over the age of 18 to purchase most fireworks, unless they are specifically sold as those for younger people.
If you are over 18, there are some time limits on when you can use your fireworks, with it being against the law between the times of 11pm and 7am, unless any of the following apply:
• It’s bonfire night – the limit on this night is 12am, or midnight.
• New Year’s Eve (and the Chinese New Year) – the limit on 31st December is 1am.
• Diwali – known by many as the festival of light, the limit for setting off fireworks for this festival is, again, 1am.
On top of making sure that you’re within the legal time limits, it’s important to make sure that you check your local council’s rules to make sure you’re not breaking any!
When you’re dealing with fireworks, it’s super important to make sure that you’re using them properly, as you don’t really want to end up contacting our injury compensation solicitors (who are based in Preston and Lancaster) if you don’t use them safely.
• It’s illegal to possess adult fireworks in public if you are under the age of 18.
• It’s illegal to use (or even just possess) fireworks that are meant for professional displays if they are not being used the just that – a professional display.
• All fireworks purchased, to be legal, must be marked with ‘BS 7114:1988’, which ensure they meet certain legal requirements.
Another important thing to remember is that all firework use should be done in accordance with any instructions, and children SHOULD NOT be left with fireworks, or be allowed to use these without supervision.
When can you buy fireworks?
Adult fireworks, which are normally those used for private displays, include category 2 and 3, which can be purchased by the general public. They are divided depending on how far the safety distance for their use is.
According to firework-review.org.uk, category 2 items require a safety distance of either 8m or 15m, depending on their ‘pattern’. On some, different distances are specified for spectators and the firer. Category 3 fireworks require a distance of 25m. Category 4 fireworks, for professional use only (and not like your injury compensation solicitors in Preston professional, but professionally-trained to use the fireworks, professional!), should be used in events, normally locally to you, and the organisers will be able to tell you what distance to stand back to.
Most people would think nothing of the fact that they don’t see fireworks on display for sale in their local supermarket for the majority of the year, however, there are legal time constraints on when fireworks can be sold – from 15th October to 10th November, 26th to 31st December and for a three-day period before either the Chinese New Year, or Diwali. For the rest of the time, you can visit your local firework registered seller to buy fireworks for private events!
What are the consequences if I don’t use fireworks properly?
Well, first of all, you can be fined up to £5,000.00 for not complying with the law. In serious cases, the consequences can be as severe as up to six months in prison for selling or using fireworks illegally.
On another note, you could risk really injuring someone that you care about.
If you’ve been injured by fireworks, whether in a friend’s back garden or at a local event, contact our expert injury compensation solicitors in Preston or Lancaster, here. Our team offer “No Win, No Fee” Personal Injury claims, and can help you to get the compensation that you deserve for any firework-related injury you’ve sustained.
We understand that the person may not have intentionally harmed you, and that accidents can happen. However, if your injury is caused by someone else’s negligence (i.e. they have broken their duty of care to you), we can help.
Our team offer free initial consultations and home visit are available, by appointment.
And, remember, don’t just go for the first claims management company that you see on TV – always use a local solicitor to make sure you get the compensation that you deserve!
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