What if you are Injured by a Drone?

Posted on October 25, 2018

Drones – and the laws surrounding them – are relatively new. California lawmakers have tried to keep up with changing technologies and what they might mean for citizens. When it comes to drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, however, the Federal Aviation Administration presides over what these device owners can and cannot do. If you or someone you love suffers an injury from a drone in LA, discuss your rights with a local Los Angeles personal injury lawyer.

What Rules Must Drone Owners Obey?

When someone purchases a drone, he or she implicitly agrees to comply with the federal laws relating to drone ownership. Although these laws constantly change, that currently involves a remote pilot certificate requirement. People who wish to fly drones in the U.S. must take and pass a Knowledge Test, as well as submit an FAA Airman Certificate application. Upon purchasing a drone, an owner must register the device in his/her state. Currently, there are 3,015 drones registered in the state of California – the most out of any state in the U.S.

On top of passing the certification exam, a drone owner must be at least 16 years old and pass a background check by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Once permitted to fly the drone, an owner must obey a federal “line of sight rule” – the owner must keep the drone in his/her line of sight at all times while operating. It is against the law to operate a drone within five miles of an airport, unless one provides advanced notice to air traffic control.

Furthermore, drone users must follow community-based safety guidelines, must fly under 400 feet, can fly no more than 100 miles per hour, must not fly over humans, and must not fly from a moving vehicle. California has passed its own limits on drone flying within the state in addition to FAA regulations, found in Civil Code Section 1708.8. This law makes it illegal to record another person on that person’s property without permission. A drone user who breaks federal or state laws could cause – and be liable for – personal injuries.

Injured By a Drone in LA? Here’s What to Do

Now that you know basic drone laws, you may have a better idea of your rights after a drone-related accident and injury. If a drone owner was breaking a law at the time of your accident, or otherwise flying the drone negligently or recklessly, you could have a personal injury claim against him/her. It is a drone owner’s duty to know and respect all applicable laws. Breaking a law by, for example, flying a drone in excess of 100 miles per hour is an act of negligence that could make the owner financially responsible for subsequent damages.

You will need to prove the pilot or owner’s negligence to obtain compensation for your injuries. This may take speaking to eyewitnesses, collecting evidence, and hiring an attorney. Many drone accidents involve more than one defendant. In one case, the victim suffered a permanent eye injury when a drone at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas flew into her face during a show. Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP, who is representing the victim, is bringing premises liability claims against Caesar’s Palace, the drone manufacturer, and the operator of the drone. The allegation is that the parties failed to comply with federal rules, regulations, and safety standards.

Most drone owners have insurance for their devices. These policies can make it possible for accident victims to recover damages from drone owners and operators. Drone accidents are unique and a relatively new area of law. The best way to strengthen your drone accident claim is to hire an attorney with experience handling these claims. A personal injury lawyer can help you get the best medical care, file a claim, prove your case, and obtain compensation. Contact the experienced team of Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP about your case today! (310) 477-1700

How Can We Help You?

If you have a legal matter you would like to discuss with an attorney from our firm, please call us at (310) 477-1700 or complete and submit the e-mail form below, and we will get back to you.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

*Required Fields