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Fourth of Ju-Liability: Who’s Liable for Injuries at Summer Events?


Summer nights in Indiana: the smell of charcoal grills, the view of the setting sun, and the sound of popping fireworks.

Each summer brings no fewer than 3 major holidays — Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day — during which people celebrate by shooting off fireworks and attending public fireworks displays.

Normally these parties are all in good fun, but occasionally we’ll hear about tragic firework accidents the morning after a summer celebration. Before you go to your next neighborhood cookout, keep in mind the risks you take on when attending public events and backyard parties this summer.

Outdoor Events


Some Indiana cities’ fireworks displays are nothing short of legendary. They draw crowds from all around the state as well as neighboring states. But as with any large event, the organizers may be responsible (and therefore liable) for reasonably ensuring attendees’ safety. This can include things like:

  • Providing adequate water fountains and restrooms to avoid congestion
  • Properly marking entrances and exits
  • Directing traffic flow to protect pedestrians
  • Properly administrating the sale and/or use of alcohol
  • Adequately lighting walkways around the event space
  • Using a public address system to notify attendees of emergencies

This is by no means an exhaustive list of responsibilities, but it begins to reveal the numerous ways event organizers may be held liable for negligently causing harm to people who attend an event. Always pay attention to what’s happening around you, and stick to the designated paths when arriving and leaving.

If you followed the event organizers’ directions and are injured by some condition they should have seen or solved, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the company who hosted the event.

However, not every summer event is hosted by a private company. Many displays, concerts, and other events are run by local and city government entities. These events are handled a little differently under premises liability law.

Government Immunity from Tort Claims

Pursuing an injury claim against your local parks and recreation department or city government is typically more challenging than a claim against a private individual. The Indiana Tort Claims Act lays out highly specific guidelines for filing injury claims against the city or state government, including a strict time limit (180 days to notify city authorities and 270 days to notify the Indiana state government) and no comparative negligence allowance. This means if you’re found to be even one percent at fault for your own injury, the government can deny your claim.

However, this doesn’t mean every injury that occurs on public property or at a government-run event is doomed to fail in court. It simply means it will be much harder to defend your claim without knowing the ins and outs of Indiana premises liability laws. If you’ve been injured on government property, call one of Hensley Legal Group’s personal injury attorneys before it’s too late.

Backyard Parties


As great as the big events can be, the staple of Indiana summers has to be backyard parties. Our great state allows residents to celebrate with fireworks from morning to night regardless of the day of the week.

However, homeowners and their guests take many risks during these get-togethers, including the risk of injury due to firework mishandling.

Fireworks Injuries

There are a few situations in which a victim can file a claim to receive compensation for their injuries due to fireworks. If the firework caused an injury because it was defective, the injured person may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer.

If the injury occurred during normal use of fireworks, an injured person may have a better chance of recovering damages from whomever caused the accident. However, if the victim was using fireworks inappropriately, they may be found to be at fault for their own injury and therefore ineligible for compensation.

Many of the domestic fireworks injuries that occur throughout the state each summer aren’t eligible for claims. However, this doesn’t mean that every fireworks injury is automatically disqualified from being able to file a premises liability claim. An Indiana personal injury attorney can help you determine your options.

Stay Safe This Summer!

Whether you’re hitting up every fireworks display and outdoor music festival or simply kicking it in your own backyard, remember to be smart and stay safe. Follow the rules at the events you attend, and use fireworks responsibly.

If you’re injured at a summer event, you may eligible to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party. To find out whether you’re eligible and how much your case may be worth, call Hensley Legal Group. Our Indiana personal injury attorneys are happy to provide a free conversation to start the process with you. Contact us online or call today.