Drones, Drone Use And Liability For Drone Injuries
The use of drones has become so commonplace in our lives, that we don’t give much thought to safety or injuries that are and which can be caused by drones. And while drones may not be a new technological invention for most of us, the law lags behind technology, making drone injuries a relatively new area of the law, with new, novel and emerging legal issues.
Although drones are small in size compared to a person, the speed of their propeller and at which they fly, can make them a serious hazard to bystanders when the drone is flown improperly.
Accidents do Happen
Recently, an actor in a Netflix series was injured when a drone flew into his face, causing significant disfigurement. If you doubt the speed and power of a drone, one was strong enough to fly through the window of a car, injuring the teenage occupant inside the vehicle. The operator of the drone said that he had lost control of the drone.
And although it has not, thankfully, ever happened, there have been numerous close calls with drones almost flying into helicopters, and even commercial airplanes. There are maximum heights for drones, which correspond with minimum heights for manned aircraft, to avoid collisions.
Federal law requires that drone owners whose drones do cause any injury that is considered a “serious injury,” or one that causes property damage in excess of $500, report the accident to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Drones over 55 pounds must be registered with the government, and many localities have their own restrictions on drone usage.
Many Ways for Things to Go Wrong
What makes drone safety so concerning, is that they can often be flown into people or property, even without the drone owner doing anything wrong; in many cases, drones may just lose power, or get carried by wind, and stray off course, injuring someone.
Many people also don’t know that just like driving a car, operating a drone while intoxicated is illegal. In fact, flying any drone, except the most lightweight of drones, over or near people is illegal, as is flying a drone over any commercial gathering, like a stadium or concert.
Even outside of injury, using a drone to spy on people or take pictures, can also lead to liability for invasions of privacy, trespassing or intrusion lawsuits.
There is no federal requirement for anybody to have drone insurance. However, some states may require them and some industries will likely have coverage for drones, if they are heavily used in that industry.
In some cases when someone injures you with a drone, their homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy will cover any damages, injuries or losses caused by the drone. Of course, if the drone is commercially owned, it is likely that the business will have insurance coverage for the drone.
Call the Knoxville car accident lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today if you are injured by a drone or in a drone accident.