There are few things more fun than ringing in the New Year with fireworks. But when it comes to firework celebrations, there is often a fine line between fun and tragedy. There is a reason why illegal fireworks are against the law. Recently, 38-year-old Liona Spencer was killed in a New Year’s fireworks explosion in Kapolei, Oahu just after midnight. Her boyfriend Keoki Mederios, who purchased and ignited the illegal aerial fireworks was also critically injured in the explosion. It was a sobering reminder of how one error in judgment can cause a catastrophic injury or even death.
Catastrophic injuries from fireworks are not uncommon during the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve. In 2015, New York Giants football player Jason Pierre-Paul purchased more than $1,000 of fireworks for a Fourth of July party at his home in Deerfield Beach, FL. As the night came to a close, Pierre-Paul was ready to call it quits. But a friend convinced him to try to set off one more explosive firework. The results were severe injuries that included flesh burns, a fractured right thumb, and an amputated right index finger. Although Pierre-Paul has managed to resume his football career, he has not been the same player. The injury also ultimately cost him millions of dollars for a contract extension. Pierre-Paul has since become an advocate of fireworks safety and has appears in numerous public service announcements.
Just this past New Year’s Eve, the Honolulu Fire Department responded to 19 emergency calls involving accidents caused by fireworks–double from last year. The city’s Emergency Medical Services received 271 emergency calls on New Year’s Eve–28 of them occurred between midnight and 1 am. Just this past year, 17,151 permits to purchase fireworks were sold. That is an increase of more than 3,340 compared to 2015. Hawaii health officials also reported serious fireworks-related injuries. One involved a man from Kauai, who suffered serious injuries to his right hand after setting off a firecracker that exploded in midair. Another man in Maui suffered severe injuries to his face after fireworks unexpectedly ignited.
There are few things more captivating than a night sky filled with brilliant colors and booming explosions. However, some of these sophisticated explosives need to be handled by a professional. In addition to the health dangers, the purchase of illegal fireworks also carries severe fines. If a person is injured from an explosion due to the negligence of others, they are entitled to seek compensation to cover their injuries, medical bills, and possible lost earnings.
Firework-related accidents are one of the most common and overlooked types of catastrophic injuries in Hawaii. A mishandled explosive can instantly cause someone to lose a hand, arm or even suffer permanent facial injuries. These life-altering injuries may require medical attention for the remainder of the victim’s life. It is critical to have access to the funds to pay for medical treatment and rehabilitation. The first step is to seek representation from an experienced Hawaii catastrophic injury lawyer with a significant track record of protecting the rights of each client and their interests. For more than 25 years, attorney Jed Kurzban has successfully represented men and women who have suffered life-altering catastrophic injuries. He and his legal team are committed to helping accident victims recover the proper settlement they deserve. To learn more, contact Jed Kurzban today and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.