Is Possession or Use of Fireworks in Florida Per Se Negligent?
The Fourth of July holiday has passed, and across the nation individuals likely either traveled to attend fireworks displays or staged a fireworks show of their own on their own property. The latter group does not include residents of Florida, though, where private possession and use of most consumer fireworks are banned. Nonetheless, there are those in communities throughout the Sunshine State that snub their nose at state and local laws and instead choose to celebrate the nation’s independence with a bang. What legal risks does this decision carry with it?
What is Meant by Per Se Negligent?
“Per se” can be defined as meaning “intrinsically,” and so when one asks whether the private use of fireworks in Florida is per se negligent, one is asking whether a private individual who uses fireworks is automatically considered to be acting in a negligent manner. The answer to this question has important legal ramifications for those who find themselves injured in a fireworks mishap: If a person’s possession and use of illegal fireworks is negligence per se, then the victim’s pursuit of compensation for his or her injuries is made easier in that the injury victim need not establish that the at-fault party behaved in a careless or reckless manner. Instead, the fact that the person violated the statute coupled with evidence that the statute was designed to prevent the specific type of harm that befell the injury victim is enough to prevail.
Florida state law makes it illegal for a person to purchase or use fireworks other than “sparklers” except for certain uses (public or private “shows” are not an approved use). Thus, even the act of purchasing illegal fireworks – much less using them – subjects the person to potential criminal penalties.
In Florida, violation of a non-traffic statute can be considered per se proof of negligence. If the plaintiff is then able to show that the defendant’s actions in violating the statute were the proximate cause of his or her injuries, the plaintiff can prevail. It would be of no consequence that the defendant may have acted with the utmost care in setting off his or her fireworks. Nor would it be a defense if the defendant claimed he or she was not “caught” by police or otherwise cited by law enforcement.
Speak with a Clearwater Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one experienced some injury this Fourth of July holiday due to another person’s decision to set off fireworks, speak with Roman & Roman right away about your right to recovery. You may be able to recover compensation without needing to show that the person who used the fireworks was acting in a careless or reckless manner: the fact he or she used fireworks may be sufficient to sustain your burden of proof. Call Roman & Roman at 877-767-1032, or reach out and speak with us using our online contact form.