Georgia in the summertime offers many occasions for celebration. The sun and warm weather, bring us outdoors to the mountains, the beach, ball games, cookouts, festivals and concerts. The celebrations usually reach their peak when we are celebrating the Fourth of July. Our state’s hospitals wind up full of Georgians who are injured by fireworks celebrations.
If you have been injured by a firework display set off by another person, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney at Wolfe Law Group, LLC today to learn about your rights.
Negligence in Georgia
Most personal injury lawsuits are based on the negligence of another person. A person may be found to be negligent if they breach a duty of care they owe to another person and an injury occurs as a result. Injuries from fireworks normally result from some form of negligence. Normally, the standard of care for negligence is to behave in a way that an ordinary person would act under similar circumstances.
An easy example of negligence involves driving a car in Georgia. On the Georgia highways you owe a duty to others to operate your car safely and abide by traffic regulations. Speeding or texting while driving are examples of ways that drivers can breach their duty of care. These types of activities could cause them to be found negligent if their actions cause injuries to a pedestrian or driver on the road.
In Georgia, under O.C.G.A.§25-10-2.1, it is illegal for a person to light fireworks while under the influence of any alcohol or drugs. If a person is injured due to the negligence of another person igniting fireworks after consuming alcohol, or while consuming alcohol, this statute can be used to establish the standard of care. If proven that the person was under the influence of drugs or alcohol while lighting fireworks and these actions led to another person being injured, it could be said that the intoxicated person is “negligent per se.”
What is Negligence per-se?
Negligent per se is a legal term that describes the situation where a criminal statute can be used to establish a standard of care for a civil case, and the violation of the criminal statute establishes that the defendant was “negligent per se.” However, simply because a person violates a criminal statute and this causes an injury to a victim does not necessarily mean this is negligence per se.
A court will find that there is negligence per se when:
- A defendant violated a statute,
- The legislation was created to prohibit the activity to protect others, and
- The person harmed falls into the class of persons that the statute was designed to protect and their injuries came from the harm the statute was designed to prevent. Groover v. Johnston, 625 S.E.2d 406, 277 Ga.App. 12 (Ga.App 2005).
One of the most common examples in which negligence per se applies is in car accidents when a defendant is following too closely and ‘rear ends’ another driver. In that circumstance, the driver who caused the rear end collision has violated Georgia code section O.C.G.A. § 40-6-49, which is a criminal statute prohibiting drivers from following too closely behind other drivers. When the defendant is found guilty of driving too closely in violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-6-49, the driver is normally found to be negligent per se for the car crash and therefore responsible for the injuries of the other driver.
Negligence per-se and Fireworks Accidents
Applying what we have learned in the above example of negligence per s-seand fireworks accidents, when someone is injured by a drunk person lighting fireworks and the drunk person is found to be guilty of O.C.G.A.§25-10-2.1, this conviction can be used to argue that this establishes he or she was negligent per-se and responsible for the victim’s firework injuries.
To avoid unnecessary injuries from fireworks, caution must be exercised. For helpful tips on how to avoid firework injuries, check out the Firework Information Center page from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. This website offers a list of safety tips that should be followed when using fireworks.
If it is too late to follow these tips because you have already been injured by fireworks due tot because of another person’s negligence, please contact a qualified personal injury attorney now. You may be entitled to recover for the injuries you have sustained. The Wolfe Law Group can help. Call us today at #(404) 348-0884.