In 2015 a drone accidentally crash landed on the White House lawn as a drunken operator lost control of the unit. Drone injuries these days are becoming more common, here are some of the more noted accidents which occurred in 2016/17:
- A small drone crashed outside a hospital building at the Northern Westchester Hospital Center in Mt. Kisco, NY, almost striking an employee.
- A small drone flew around Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, and crashed into an empty seat in the upper deck.
- A small drone shooting video of a wedding crashed into two guests in Windham, NH. One guest suffered a concussion and the other required 20 stitches to close a cut on her head. They later sued the venue and the groom.
- A small drone photographing a Thanksgiving Day run in Andover, MA crashed into the pack, cutting two runners.
Private and commercial usage of drones on the rise
Most of us have friends with drones, and the numbers are rising. The posting of pictures and videos taken by a camera attached to a drone is becoming commonplace on social media. In addition to recreational use, we will be seeing a rise in the commercial use of drones, as recent FAA regulation changes have simplified the requirements for commercial usage.
Drones have a huge array of potential commercial applications. Industries such as real estate, construction, agriculture and emergency services use drones for photography, video, and monitoring purposes. There are also various potential uses by delivery services, with companies such as Amazon and Domino’s Pizza currently testing drone delivery services.
People can easily get hurt
You may be casually walking along the street, in a park or in your own front yard and a drone comes crashing down on you. Drones have sharp blades and dangerous metal and plastic pieces, they can easily fly at up to 35 mph and usually weigh from around 1 pound upwards. A gust of wind is enough for an inexperienced operator to lose control, and send the drone crashing to the ground. It is important to know that a drone operator can be held responsible for any harm caused to other people. Injuries from drone accidents can range from lacerations and cuts, to serious head and neck injuries.
When a drone causes an injury or property damage, it is the individual operating the drone that is often held responsible. If the drone was flying too close to people, or in a reckless or other negligent manner, then the operator can be held responsible if they injure an innocent victim.
Depending on the operator’s insurance policy, their homeowners insurance may pay for preventable injuries inflicted by them. Even so, today, most retailers will recommend that users obtain liability insurance when purchasing a drone.
Because this area of law is still evolving, currently a personal injury lawsuit related to a drone accident is generally brought under the legal theory of negligence, therefore it is especially important for victims to speak with an experienced Personal Injury attorney.
What should I do if I am injured by a drone?
If you have had an accident involving a drone and have been injured, you should immediately seek medical treatment, then:
- Obtain details and information from persons involved, including the person operating the drone, the owner, and other witnesses.
- Get details of any liability insurance policy held by the operator or owner.
- Write down the model of the drone and any relevant licenses held by the operator.
- Report the injury to Police.
- Consult an experienced attorney if your injuries are expected to cause long-term pain and suffering or if they interfere with your ability to do your job.
The future of drones
According to new FAA estimates, the US is currently the world’s largest drone market, with the decrease in prices of drones, sales of small hobbyist drones are expected to rise from 1.9 million units in 2017 to 4.2 million units in 2020. Sales of commercial drones, on the other hand, could rise tenfold from 100,000 to 1.1 million. That is a lot of drones, flying around our skies, and a lot of potential accidents. Make sure you know your rights by contacting an experienced personal injury attorney if you or any of your loved ones have been injured by a drone.