Firework related accidents happen for many reasons but usually because the firework is either faulty or because the safety instructions have not been followed correctly or disregarded entirely.
Injured at an organised public event?
Organisers of large public displays are under a legal duty to make sure the spectators are safe. If you are injured you must report the injury to the organiser as soon as you possibly can and, if you are able to, take photographs of the injury and make a note of any witnesses’ details. You must keep a note of the name and address of the display venue and, if possible, a contact number for the person to whom you reported the incident. If your injuries are a result of the organiser not following the Health & Safety Executive’s guidelines, you may have grounds for a claim.
Injured at a back garden display?
More often than not, injuries occur during back garden displays where fireworks have misfired or the instructions are insufficient. If you have purchased fireworks for use in a back garden display, you may have a claim against firework manufacturer if things go wrong. You must be able to prove that the firework was defective in some way and the defect caused your injuries. Always keep the firework packaging, instructions for use and your receipt.
Deliberately injured by a firework?
If someone throws a firework at you or deliberately puts you at risk in some other way and you are injured, you may be entitled to make a Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme claim.
The Health and Safety Executive has published guidance on how to carry out a firework display safely and offers advice to anyone thinking of organising a display, even if it is a small one in your back garden! (http://www.hse.gov.uk/explosives/fireworks/)
Fireworks can be unpredictable and, even at large public events, things can go wrong. If things do go wrong the consequences can be serious, with the most common injuries being to the face and eyes. At the moment, there is no legal obligation on organisers to have insurance cover to protect you if you are injured by fireworks. Most public firework displays do follow the Health and Safety Executive’s guidelines and have insurance cover in place but beware, some may not be so prepared!