It's no secret that July 4th is one of the more dangerous holidays in the U.S. - in 2019 alone, around 10,000 people across the country reported to U.S. hospital emergency departments with fireworks-related injuries.
If you're wondering what happens if you're near or involved in a fireworks-related injury, you're not alone. Today, we answer those questions with our Fourth of July blog.
To schedule a consultation with our team and receive the legal representation you deserve for your case, contact us online or via phone at (757) 267-4949.
Is It Legal to Own or Use Fireworks in Virginia on July 4th?
Virginia law prohibits the illegal possession, use, storing, sale, or handling any firework that explodes, rises into the air, travels laterally, or fires projectiles into the air" within the Commonwealth of Virginia.
In other words, Virginians wanting to err on the side of caution should abstain from using any fireworks on the Fourth of July, including ones often seen as less "serious" or "harmful" such as bottle rockets and firecrackers.
However, it's worth noting that celebration devices which stay on the ground - such as sparklers and pinwheels - are legal in the state.
Possessing any kind of firework or setting one off is punishable by a Class 1 misdemeanor, which could result in a jail sentence of up to one year, and/or a $2,500 fine depending on the severity of the case.
However, if a firework injures somebody, the consequences could be more severe.
For example, if an individual threatens to hurt someone else by aiming a firework at them, they could potentially face assault charges.
Even if an individual doesn't intend to harm anyone with the use of fireworks, they could still be penalized for accidentally doing so or damaging property. For example, an individual may be charged with negligently inflicting emotional distress or physical harm on another person. Such charges could result in civil legal disputes such as personal injury lawsuits to cover the legal fees, medical costs, and recovery or lost wages for the injured party, to name but a few potential penalties.
In short, utilizing fireworks could be costly to you both emotionally and financially if another individual or their property is hurt.
How Can I Stay Safe on July 4th?
Even if you have no intention of purchasing or using illegal fireworks on July 4th, you may be concerned about your safety if you attend gatherings where other people are engaging in such activities.
To stay safe, you can follow the following tips:
- Always make sure that any fireworks are pointed away from you or other people;
- Try and ensure that fireworks or other legal celebration devices are not being lit or activated in an area where there are fire hazards present, such as dry grass or flammable materials;
- Always try and ensure that a fire extinguisher is nearby at all times;
- Try and make sure any animals, especially dogs, are kept away from celebration devices, and keep a safe distance yourself;
- Try and ensure that nobody attempts to use or make their own fireworks.
At The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller, we can help you pursue charges against individuals who use celebration devices negligently or work to protect you from allegations of unsafe use.
To schedule a consultation with our team or learn more about our process, contact us online or via phone at (757) 267-4949.