In a recent appeal, fireworks at an annual Fourth of July party injured an eight-year-old girl. The young girl’s parents sued the homeowners for the resulting injuries from the fireworks display. Harbin v. Ritch, A22A0670 (2022). The trial court threw the case out. The trial court believed that the child should have known of and avoided the danger. The child’s parents appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed (meaning they disagreed with the trial court).
At issue was whether the parents who threw the Fourth of July party could be held responsible for the injuries caused by the fireworks.
The Georgia Court of Appeals explained a homeowner might be responsible if: (1) they knew of the dangerous condition, (2) the guest was unaware of the dangerous condition, and (3) they failed to make the condition safe.
In this situation, there was a history of prior problems with fireworks injuries during the Fourth of July parties. In addition to prior issues, the testimony was that most of the adults at the party were drinking, including the homeowners. Finally, the homeowners had not made any effort to supervise the fireworks.
Most often a Court will not hold a homeowner liable if the injury was an accident. But if the homeowner was intoxicated and was acting irresponsibly, then a Court can hold such a homeowner liable.
A Jury Must Decide on Damages for the Fireworks Injuries
Because of the history of drinking and lack of supervision, the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that a jury must decide if the homeowner was responsible the fireworks and the young girl’s injuries. Even though the young girl and her parents knew of the fireworks at the party, the Court decided that an eight-year-old girl could not understand the risk of being injured.
If you or a family member are injured, call us at 404-382-9994 to make an appointment to discuss your case.