Small Fireworks Now Legal in Ulster County… and Potentially Dangerous

The County of Ulster has decided to allow the sale of small fireworks around the time of certain holidays. Earlier this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo legalized the sale of small fireworks state-wide, but each county in New York was required to opt in or not individually. The fireworks which are legal to sell are sparklers and ground fireworks. Anything that launches or explodes mid-air remains illegal. Ulster County residents will be permitted to buy fireworks between June 1 and July 5, and again from December 26 to January 2.

While the law is restricted to allow the sale of only smaller fireworks, users are still cautioned to exercise great care, as there are risks which remain present with the use of any firework. A US Consumer Products Safety Commission survey revealed that 7,500 people report being treated every year for firework-related injuries. Among these reported injuries, a number resulted from the use of legal fireworks. One 26-year-old man used duct tape to bundle a number of sparklers. When the “sparkler bomb” was lit, it exploded before the man could get away, which resulted in severe burns to the man’s knee, hip, and leg. Another reported injury was to an 11-year-old boy who found a small unlit golf ball-sized firework on the ground. He lit it, but the firework exploded in his hand, leading to the removal of part of three fingers of that hand.

Even cautious users can become victims of malfunctioning fireworks. While users of fireworks can always expect to incur some risk, if using the product properly according to the instructions still results in injury, then the user may be entitled to compensation. Should a firework fail to behave as advertised when lit, perhaps by exploding prematurely or exploding with greater intensity, causing injury to the user, that user may have a products liability claim for defective design, manufacturing, or marketing against the manufacturer, distributor, and/or retailer.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a defective or malfunctioning firework, or by another person’s negligent or reckless use of fireworks, you may be entitled to file a claim for your injuries. Contact the experienced Dutchess and Ulster County personal injury attorneys at Basch & Keegan for a free evaluation of your claims at (845) 338-8884.