Newest Statistics from CPSC Show That Firework Related Injuries Have Increased

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Douglas Hanna, Esq. states that increased injuries caused by fireworks will increase firework related lawsuits in New Jersey.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that fireworks related injuries increased by almost 20% from 2012 to 2013. The increase in injuries could continue into 2014. Douglas Hanna stated that "residents of states where fireworks are illegal, i.e. New Jersey, could see an increase in lawsuits."

In NJ it is unlawful to sell, possess, or use fireworks anywhere in NJ without a valid permit. See Statute 21:2-6 at end of article.

NJ is only one of four states that criminalize fireworks. The other three are DE, MA and NY. Four other states, IL, IO, OH and UT allow sparklers.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 60% of all fireworks injuries occurred within 30 days of the Fourth of July holiday.

The Consumer Protection Safety Commission stated more than 5,000 people were injured within a few weeks of Fourth of July.

"Many NJ residents cross the Delaware River into PA to purchase fireworks and transport them back to NJ", Hanna stated. Bottle rockets, mortars, firecrackers, roman candles and sparklers are all banned in NJ.

In order for a NJ resident to purchase fireworks in PA, the NJ resident must produce an ID that proves they are over 18 years of age and sign a form that they will immediately transport their new fireworks out of PA.

If the NJ law is violated and charges are filed (not always) the person (defendant) is subject to a 4th degree criminal indictment which carriers a fine up to $7,500.00 and jail up to 18 months. See Statute 21:2-35 at end of article. "Routine warnings by local NJ police departments seem to be just as routinely ignored." said Hanna.

If someone is injured by illegal fireworks at a NJ residence, homeowners or renters insurance may not protect the resident from a lawsuit? See the upcoming release on civil liability for fireworks injuries in NJ.

NJ Title 21 Explosives and Fireworks Short Title

21:2-36. Delivery of fireworks prohibited; exceptions
a. A person shall not knowingly deliver fireworks to a person within this State unless the person to whom delivery is to be made is named on a valid permit obtained pursuant to R.S.21:3-1 et seq. as the person authorized to receive fireworks or unless the person is the owner, manager, or designated employee acting as the agent of the owner or manager, of a legally operated commercial enterprise registered pursuant to section 10 of P.L.1991, c.55 (C.21:2-37). At the time of delivery, the person receiving the fireworks shall make the permit or registration available to the person making delivery for review and the number of the permit or registration held by the receiver shall be recorded on each bill of lading, manifest or invoice issued to cover the sale and shipment of the fireworks. A record of the bill of lading, manifest, or invoice shall be retained by the person making delivery for a period of three years and shall be available for inspection by municipal enforcement authorities, the Department of Labor, or other law enforcement authorities.
A package to be delivered to a person who does not have a valid permit or registration shall be turned over to the local municipal law enforcement authority who in turn shall notify the Office of Safety Compliance in the Department of Labor.
b. A package containing fireworks prepared by a manufacturer, supplier or seller for shipment or transportation into or within this State to a purchaser or receiver shall be labeled in accordance with the requirements of State and federal law, and the rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to those laws, concerning the transportation of hazardous materials.
Notwithstanding the penalty set forth in R.S.21:2-35, a violation of this section is a disorderly persons offense.

21:2-35. Violations; crime of fourth degree
Any person who fails to comply with or violates any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
Amended by L.1953, c. 21, p. 374, s. 4, eff. March 19, 1953; L.1983, c. 561, s. 1, eff. Jan. 17, 1984.

21:2-6. Dangerous fireworks prohibited
It shall be unlawful to manufacture, sell, transport or use dangerous fireworks within the state.

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Doug Hanna
since: 06/2014
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Douglas Hanna Civil Trial Attorney
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