According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there are more than 1.5 million registered drones and 170,000 certified remote pilots in the United States. Of these unmanned aircrafts, around 1.2 million are recreational and 440,000 are commercial.
Although this technology is exciting, it is also such a new field that many people flying drones may not know the regulations they are supposed to be following — or the injuries that can occur if they disregard them.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a recreational or commercial drone, contact America’s largest personal injury law firm, Morgan & Morgan, to find out if you’re owed money for medical bills, property damage, and other expenses. Our case evaluations are free, and it costs nothing upfront to hire us.
Recreational Drone Regulations
People who have watched drone videos online may be surprised to learn that the FAA has issued quite a few regulations for flying recreational drones. These include:
- Register your drone, mark it on the outside with the registration number, and carry proof of registration with you.
- Never fly the drone above 400 feet in uncontrolled airspace.
- Never fly over any person or moving vehicle.
- Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Don’t fly at night unless your drone has lighting that allows you to know its location and orientation at all times.
- Don’t operate your drone in a careless or reckless manner.
There are also various state laws, which you can read here. Violating these rules may increase the chance that someone will get hurt in a drone-related incident.
Common Drone Injuries
The Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) conducted an 18-month study where drones collided with crash test dummies. The most common types of injuries were cuts and bruises, but some of these cuts were deep lacerations. Real-world evidence backs this up: An Australian triathlete needed stitches after a drone crashed into her head, and a Brooklyn photographer lost the tip of his nose in a similar incident.
Moreover, ASSURE was unable to test how many of the collisions would have caused concussions. Given that many drones will first make contact with a person’s head, the injuries could be more severe than one would expect.
What to Do After a Drone Accident
The steps one should take after a drone accident are similar to the steps to take after a car crash, with a couple drone-specific wrinkles:
- If possible, write down the name, contact information, and insurance information of the drone operator, as well as their drone’s registration number.
- Write down the name and contact information of any witnesses who saw the incident.
- Document the scene and your injuries with videos and photos.
- Seek medical attention and follow all doctor’s orders.
- Keep track of all expenses related to the incident, and retain receipts.
- Contact a personal injury attorney who can tell you if you are entitled to compensation.
Depending on the nature of your injury or property damage, you may also need to contact your insurance company. But be sure to speak with an attorney as well, as the insurance company may not have your best interests at heart.
Compensation Available in a Drone Lawsuit
Though drone lawsuits are a relatively young practice area, the same personal injury principle applies: If you were injured because of another person or company’s negligence, they should have to pay for any damages related to that injury. These damages might include:
- Medical expenses (including medication, surgery, hospital stays, etc.)
- Property damage/repairs
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages (if you missed work because of the injury)
- Punitive damages
In the event that the drone’s manufacturer was at fault, and not the drone’s operator, you would seek damages from them or their insurance company. Regardless of the cause of the crash, if you were hurt, it’s worth speaking with an attorney to explore your options.
Contact a Drone Accident Lawyer
You may think that there’s nothing to be done if you’re injured by a drone, but that’s not the case. Since 1988, Morgan & Morgan has fought For The People; over that time, we’ve become America’s largest personal injury firm. We have won more than $9 billion for our clients, and we never charge by the hour. In fact, we get paid only if you win.
To see how our attorneys and case staff can help you, contact us for a free case evaluation. These cases are time-sensitive, so don’t wait. Get in touch today.