At least 36 people suffered injuries after a fireworks show went awry in Simi Valley, sending airborne pyrotechnics hurtling into crowds of spectators. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, the incident occurred on July 4, 2013 when about 10,000 people were gathered at Rancho Santa Susana Community Park in Simi Valley to watch the Independence Day fireworks show. Officials say at least one pyrotechnic prematurely exploded in a mortar, causing a chain reaction that tipped over other fireworks and launched them into the crowd of spectators.
Victims ranging in age from 17 months to 71 years were transported to area hospitals. Twelve of the injured victims were children. Injuries included burns, shrapnel, trampling wounds and chest pains. Some also suffered lacerations and tinnitus or ringing in the ears. Officials said most victims were lucky that their injuries were not worse.
The show was sponsored by the Simi Valley Rotary Club, which hired Bay Fireworks, a New York-based company, to put on the show. The company has promised to conduct a thorough investigation into why the accident occurred and make the results available to the public. The explosion occurred five minutes into what was supposed to be a 25-minute show.
Based on this news report, there are still several questions as to how or why the fireworks show malfunctioned. Was there some type of defect in the equipment? Was the equipment used for the show properly maintained? Have these types of mishaps occurred before in shows organized by this company? Did this incident occur as a result of negligence or error on the part of one of the company's employees? I trust officials are conducting a thorough investigation in order to determine precisely what occurred here and why.
Victims' Rights to Compensation
It is understandable that victims of this horrific incident are still in the process of getting treatment. However, it would be in their best interests to contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, who will stay abreast of the official investigation and help determine who the liable parties here are. According to the city's web site, the event is organized each year by the Simi Valley Rotary Club, the City of Simi Valley and the Rancho Simi Recreation and Parks District.
It is important to remember that if the personal injury claim is to be filed against a governmental entity, then, it should be done within six months or 180 days of the incident under California Government Code Section 911.2. The failure to file a proper and timely claim can terminate a victim's right to compensation.