Firework Accident Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a bonfire and firework accident we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a bonfire and firework accident and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
In our guide to claiming
firework accident compensation:
According to the British Pyrotechnists Association, approximately 20 million people are estimated to attend either a public or private firework display over the November period.
Although fireworks and Bonfire Night events are heavily regulated due to the known dangers, around 1,000 burns injuries and other accidents are still reported each year.
Do I have a firework accident claim?
You should be able to make a firework accident injury claim if your injury happened:
- in the last three years, and;
- someone else was to blame, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Do I have a claim? - Common questions
What if a child was injured?
The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.
A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a firework accident claim on their own behalf.
What if the other party denies liability?
If the defendant denies liability, your solicitor will build the strongest possible case in order to prove that the defendant is responsible for your firework accident. Ultimately the solicitor will issue court proceedings on the defendant. Often this prompts an admission of liability before proceedings begin.
What is the law regarding fireworks and bonfires?
A range of statutory controls are in place to protect people from fireworks, as well as the other dangers associated with Bonfire Night. These include The Firework (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2004 and the Fireworks Regulations 2004.
One of the main legal requirements is that adult' fireworks (categories 2 and 3) can only be purchased and used by persons 18 and over (category 4 only by professionals). During the bonfire period, fireworks can only be brought from registered sellers from 15 October to 10 November. In addition, Bonfire Night fireworks must not be set off between 12pm and 7am.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has also published guidelines on holding private and public bonfire events. These offer advice on how to manage health and safety issues through organisation and planning. Key recommendations include:
- Ensuring the display site is suitable, and includes separate areas with safe distances for spectators, fireworks and the bonfire display
- Consideration of prevailing weather conditions, such as whether there will be strong winds and identification of overhead obstructions, such as power lines
- Having adequate crowd control, emergency and first aid procedures in place
- Not lighting the bonfire until after the fireworks display in case of stray sparks
- Checking to make sure no-one is inside before lighting a bonfire
The Fireworks Code
In addition, the Fireworks Code offers further advice on the safe use of fireworks. This includes:
- Only buying fireworks that comply with British Standard 7114 or its European equivalent
- Keeping fireworks stored in a closed box
- Following the instructions on each firework
- Lighting fireworks at arm's length using a taper
- Standing well back
- Never going near a firework that has been lit
- Never throwing fireworks or putting them in your pocket
- Always supervising children around fireworks
- Lighting sparklers one at a time and wearing gloves
- Not giving sparklers to children under five years old
Why are firework accidents so common?
Firework rockets can reach speeds of 150 mph, sparklers burn at 2,000 degrees Celsius and fires lit on Bonfire Night are often large and tended by untrained and inexperienced members of the public. Given these dangers, the high frequency of firework and bonfire accidents is not surprising.
Burns are the most common types of injury, with the?hand injuries the most common, followed by?injuries to the eyes and face. These injuries can be superficial or they can involve nerve and muscle damage and permanent scarring.
The majority of injuries caused by fireworks are the result of misuse, including:
- Handing a sparkler to a child without gloves or eye protection
- Incorrect setup and discharge of a firework
- Failing to maintain a safe distance between discharging fireworks and the public
Even when fireworks are used properly, they remain dangerous explosives. The likelihood of an sustaining a injury can significantly increase if the product includes inadequate or misleading instructions, or is faulty.
A?defective product injury claim could be made against a retailer or manufacturer under certain circumstances. A specialist solicitor will be able to confirm whether such a claim is likely to succeed depending on the facts of your case.
Are firework display organisers liable?
If an individual is injured by a firework or bonfire display, the organiser of the event is usually liable. This is because the organiser has a legal duty to ensure the safety of spectators and any staff. If the organiser failed to follow any of the statutory requirements or safety guidelines, their actions or inaction would likely amount to negligence, making a claim more likely to succeed.
An organiser of a public display should have insurance in place through which a claim can be pursued. Pursuing a claim against an amateur organiser of a private event may be more difficult. Your solicitor will be able to explain your options in such a case.
If a firework is illegally set off in the street or thrown at a person, the incident should be reported to the police. In these instances, the injured person might be entitled to claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
The amount of money you could claim for your firework accident will depend on:
- the extent of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your firework accident has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after a firework accident? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
What is the average injury compensation for a firework accident claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following a firework accident will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your firework accident compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
What if I am not yet sure of the extent of my injury?
If you have not yet sought medical attention, your solicitor will arrange a medical assessment for you ASAP. If you are awaiting test results, a claim can still be started. Once the extent of the injuries are known, the settlement can be calculated.
Can I get an interim payment?
Interim payments are effectively an advance on a probable compensation award. An interim payment may be awarded if the claimant is in immediate financial hardship.
Calculate my firework accident compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a firework accident injury can be complicated.
Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.
Find out what your firework accident claim could be worth now:
How long does a firework injury claim take?
How long it can take to get compensation for a firework accident can vary considerably.
For instance, a simple liability accepted public place accident claim could be settled in a matter of weeks. If liability is denied, however, a claim can take considerably longer. On average a public place accident claim takes 6 to 9 months. To read more about how long your claim could take, see: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your firework accident claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:
- Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
- Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
- Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
- Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.
How did your injury occur?
The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:
No win, no fee
Under a no win, no fee agreement (known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make a firework accident claim without needing to worry about upfront legal fees. If your firework accident claim is unsuccessful you won't have to pay any money to your solicitor.
Our no win, no fee promise
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making a firework accident claim, even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my firework accident claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, once your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my firework accident claim?
If your firework accident claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
Can I get Legal Aid?
Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Firework accident FAQ's
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?
You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.
However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.
How long do I have to make a firework accident claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the firework accident to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your firework accident claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a firework accident after 3 years?
Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.
However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.
If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim firework accident compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a firework accident claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.
Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.
Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
Can I get an early compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.