Fourth of July Injuries and How to Stay Safe


Fourth of July Injuries and How to Stay Safe

Injured employee visiting lawyer for advice on insuranceEverything is all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. Whether it is a serious burn, losing an eye, or something else catastrophic, no one is exempt from injuries when it comes to July 4th celebrations.

Barbecues and baseball games, concerts and chilled beverages, family reunions and fireworks, picnics and parades — these are all things we do to celebrate the Fourth of July across America. And there is no doubt that we generally all enjoy celebrating Independence Day with our loved ones. We use this holiday to commemorate the Declaration of Independence of the United States and also relax and enjoy great company. Sometimes, however, there could be injuries involved amidst a  celebration, and the Fourth of July celebrations are no exception.

Just how many injuries occur during the Fourth of July celebration? According to AJC along with other sources, thousands of individuals are sent to the emergency room each year due to a firework-related injury, ranging from children, adults, and, yes, even animals.

In particular, fireworks-related injuries spike when celebrating on the Fourth of July. The fact of the matter is: Whether the injury is a serious burn, losing an eye, or something else catastrophic, injuries can and do occur when it comes to July 4th celebrations. For this reason, it is vital for people to consider how to take extra precautions to stay safe before, during, and after Independence Day celebrations.

The Law Offices of William D. Shapiro proudly represents those who have suffered a serious injury. If you have sustained an injury from a Fourth of July celebration, we can help. To start, let us consider some common injuries associated with the Fourth of July and practical steps that could be taken so you might avoid such injuries this July 4th weekend.

The most common body parts that are injured by firework-related items during the Fourth of July are the hand, wrist, and finger. Burn injuries see a whopping 57 percent, with 16 percent bruising, and 15.8 percent being open wounds. (VOX)

No doubt, one of the top injuries related to Independence Day deals with fireworks. Though it is not the number one injury linked to the holiday, it is popular. In fact, CNN published an article last year right before the Fourth of July weekend that highlighted how more than 9,000 people were treated for fireworks-related injuries the previous year.

The use of fireworks, firecrackers, sparklers, candles, and other very loud, very sparkly, or very fiery celebration items (oftentimes, all three at once) are the most common ways Americans celebrate the federal holiday. What injuries, outside of fireworks-related injuries, are sustained during July 4th celebrations?We have researched and compiled a list of the top, non-firework related injuries associated with the Fourth of July holiday:

  1. Car accidents. We should not be surprised that one of the most common injuries associated with the Fourth of July celebration is car accidents. With many people on the road traveling for vacations and holiday celebrations, there’s an increased probability of car accidents occurring.
  2. Water accidents (including pool and boat). Many of us love our Southern California summers, and Fourth of July celebrations are often linked to pool parties as one of the ways to keep guests cool in the heat. Nonetheless, swimming accidents during the Fourth of July celebrations account for a handful of injuries. In addition, many people take to the water during the Fourth of July weekend. Boating accidents include not paying attention while operating the boat, speeding, faulty machinery, violating the rules of navigation, inexperience, and boating while intoxicated.
  3. Food poisoning. Fourth of July is known for backyard barbecue sessions, but the heat can create an environment for foodborne illnesses to grow. If food is left out in the heat for too long, it could become contaminated with bacteria or other substances that could result in illness.
  4. Defective grills and propane tanks. Reiff Law also reminds us that if you are considering having a barbecue on the Fourth of July, it is important to ensure that your grill is in proper working condition prior to using it.
  5. Dehydration or heat stroke. Celebrating in the middle of summer means there will be heat…a lot of it. Despite many Fourth of July celebrations occurring at or near some body of water (whether it be a swimming pool or beach), people tend to spend a substantial amount of their Fourth of July day plopped in the sun. The heat is coupled with an increase in alcoholic beverage consumption and physically-demanding activities such as water sport, thus making people more susceptible to dehydration.

Many injuries are preventable, and when it comes to celebrating this Fourth of July, you and your loved ones can have fun and still stay safe. Consider what practical steps you could take to actively prevent experiencing any of the common injuries associated with this holiday.

  • How to avoid car accidents? While car accidents are not 100 percent avoidable, one way to prevent the chances of getting into a car accident is by limiting the amount of alcohol served or drank at Fourth of July parties. This holiday is often associated with alcoholic beverages, but this also plays a role in riskier driving. Do not drink and drive. Also, make sure to take extra caution of other drivers around you. You are not alone on the road and while you might take measures to drive safely, there is no guarantee that others are doing the same.
  • How to avoid water injuries? Never swim alone and always supervise children near a pool. Lifejacket and floaties will prove beneficial for inexperienced swimmers during this holiday. For boats, make sure all flotation devices are on board and perform a thorough inspection. Have an experienced, designated driver in command of the boat and if you practice good boating etiquette, everyone will be better able to relax and enjoy themselves. Be sure to always avoid drinking and swimming or drinking and operating a boat; both of these are just as dangerous as drinking and driving a car on the road.
  • How to avoid food-related illnesses? We love our barbecues but it is important that you do not leave food sitting outside for longer than one hour. When cooking meats outside, always use a thermometer to check the internal temperature for thorough cooking and do not place cooked food on the same surface that holds or held raw meat. Preventing cross-contamination is a key factor in preventing foodborne illness.
  • How to avoid grill accidents? Check the rubber tubing, regulators, and seals that make up the plumbing of the grill to make sure they are not cracked or worn-out. Doing so will let you know in advance if there is a gas leak. You also want to make sure that the flow of gas is not obstructed otherwise the risk of an explosion or other dangerous scenario will be increased. Furthermore, always ensure that your propane tank is equipped with a regulator to prevent overfilling.
  • How to avoid dehydration? Every so often, leave the outdoors for the indoors. Most people have cooler insides during the summer. If you are celebrating outdoors, find a big tree with shade or use umbrellas. Consume plenty of water and hydrating fruits like watermelon and mangoes throughout the day. If you start to feel a fast heartbeat, rapid breathing, dizziness, confusion, headache, nausea, or fainting, seek medical attention immediately as these are symptoms of dehydration.

Though we are omitting firework-related injuries from the list, it is still important that we consider how to avoid them, for good measure. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, fireworks can cause chemical and thermal burns. Even when it comes to the use of sparklers, many people think they are harmless in comparison to fireworks, but they are actually the most common source of firework-related injuries. It is important that we do not underestimate the powerful effect of items that are considered low-explosive. They are still explosive and could still result in harm.

Never light, hold, then throw fireworks, or pick up fireworks that haven’t fully ignited to avoid potential tissue damage to hands and fingers. Leave the firework displays to the professionals and be sure to view them from a distance of at least 500 feet away and make sure there is proper supervision at all times.

If you or someone you love has been injured during a Fourth of July celebration, there are steps you should take to make sure your injuries are properly taken care of.

We all want to enjoy the Fourth of July weekend with ease. Yet, some of the very things we do to celebrate the holiday could be the very things that result in injury. At William D. Shapiro, we know that suffering a serious injury is life-changing, especially if the injury you have suffered occurred during a time of celebration. We want you and your loved ones to enjoy this Independence Day with ease, but injuries occur even when preventable steps are taken.

If you or someone you know experiences a serious injury while celebrating Independence Day, we can help. We are personal injury lawyers of The Law Offices of William D. Shapiro Inc and if the accident was the result of another party’s negligence or misconduct, you have the right to aggressively pursue justice, including payment for all medical costs, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, significant punitive damages may also be in order.

Call us at (877) 611-1529 or contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers and receive professional legal guidance on your specific issue.

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