Preventing Accidents during Holiday Celebrations

By Peter DePaolis

Summer is a time of celebration in the United States with Memorial Day, Independence Day, reunions, and graduation parties taking place all over the country. Unfortunately, negligence in the festivities may lead people to be less vigilant about safety, as holiday and party accidents injure or kill thousands of Americans every year during the summer.

This past Fourth of July a New York man lost his arm in a home fireworks accident. The man was using a three-foot long metal tube for shooting out mortars. He was leaning over the tube to ignite a mortar when one shot out and hit him, taking off the man’s left arm from the shoulder. The fireworks he had been using were illegal and much more powerful than regular ones.

An Ohio teen recently drowned at a graduation party after he dove into a pond looking for a flotation device. His parents said he was not a good swimmer. In this case, it seems that it was just a tragic accident, as party attendees said there was no alcohol at the party. At many graduation parties, however, accidents often occur due to alcohol consumption (much of which by underage students) and poor judgment. If someone’s negligence has led to your or a family member’s injury, a Northern Virginia personal injury attorney can explain to you what your rights are.

How to Prevent Summer Party Accidents

  • Always be vigilant when handling fireworks. Keep your body away from them when lighting them. Do not try to pick up or re-light malfunctioning ones. Watch children closely around fireworks – nearly half of all fireworks injuries involve children under 15. Do not use illegal fireworks, which tend to be more powerful and dangerous than legal ones.
  • The decision to serve alcohol at your party is a difficult one. If it is a graduation party with mostly underage attendees, it is best not to serve it. A court could hold you liable for providing alcohol to underage people. Even if most of the partygoers are of age, liability is still an issue. You may need to get liability insurance and hire professional bartenders. As the host, you are responsible for monitoring the alcohol intake of your partygoers, and you may be liable if an excessively drunk person later harms someone.
  • For particularly large graduation parties, consider hiring an off-duty police officer or security guard. Fights or something worse can and do occur when large groups of young adults come together. Earlier in the summer, a gunman killed one teenager and injured eight others at a graduation party in Alabama.

Summer parties should be a relaxing and safe time for everyone. Contact a Northern Virginia personal injury lawyer at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P. if negligence and a disregard for safety have resulted in injury to you or a loved one.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.