As an example of advanced technology, drones (also known as UAVs) are skyrocketing in popularity every day. However, drone safety legislation cannot be regulated at the same rate, resulting in lawsuits from drone negligence.
We at Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi & Pearlman are not anti-drone. Truthfully, we believe drones provide many positive benefits for society in the future. We have no intention of banning drones and their many uses. As personal injury lawyers, we lookout for the safety of our community; and with the amplified usage of drones, there will also be an escalation in civilian drone accidents. It is inevitable. Our purpose is to create an informative discussion on how to handle a potential drone injury claim. While these devices are both fun and advantageous, our overall intent is to keep the public safe.
Personal Drones vs. Commercial Drones
In the United States, there is very little legal regulation on drones. Essentially anyone can stop in their local retailer and purchase one. This means that the experienced and inexperienced alike can operate these flying machines.
For personal use, UAVs provide sport for its users. Flying drones, the ultramodern version of flying kites, is a fun, usually outdoor activity for children and parents. They can also show what your house looks like from several feet in the air, an intriguing sight for many children.
Commercially, drones have various uses. For instance, realtors use UAVs to show houses. Many photographers use drones to get the impossible, perfect shot. UAVs are also used for site inspections by construction workers. Drone delivery systems are also being considered by major U.S. corporations such as Amazon. Nonetheless, these UAV users receive little to no training on the operation and the complete device as they fly them in your local community, at social events, and in shopping malls.
Types of Drone Injuries
By 2020, the FAA predicts that approximately 30,000 drones will be used for all types of commercial uses. However, many UAVs also experience mechanical failure; including loss of battery power, short-circuiting of the wiring system, or the interference of wildlife or trees, and user error. When this occurs, the flying machines will fall out of the sky and may hit an unsuspecting person on the ground. With drone accidents occurring daily, there is a rapid increase in drone accident injuries. Though some find humor in searching “drone accidents YouTube” and watching videos of people being injured, these types of accidents should be taken very seriously. You’ve seen how drones are built; with sharp, metallic blades, they would cause serious harm if they ever fell down on a person.
The sharp blades may cause cuts and bruises on the victim, as well as possible concussions or stitches if the devices were to hit the victim’s head. Recently at the Geraldton Endure Batavia triathlon in Australia, a drone being used to photograph competitors, crashed into triathlete Raija Ogden and caused a minor head wound that required stitches.
Not only can drones cause serious injury but they also cause safety concerns. Here in the United States, a drone crash-landed on the White House lawn. Even though the White House has specific flight restrictions, the device was difficult to detect. The White House immediately went into lockdown. In the end, the drone owner was not charged, because the drone was not under his control at the time of the incident.
5 Things to Do If You Are Injured
Imagine you are out on your afternoon jog, and suddenly an object falls from the sky. Is it a bird? A plane? No! it’s a drone! If this happens, here are some steps you can follow:
1. Immediately seek medical help for injuries
Potential defendants may try to prove you are uninjured. Documentation of your drone-related injury is essential to your case.
2. Determine the drone operator
Put your smartphone to good use. Take pictures of the incident and the drone. Look for brand identification, serial numbers, or business names. Nearly all drones have cameras, meaning the operator can see what the drone is doing. Have a friend wait at the scene to see if the owner comes following the accident. If all else fails, call the police.
3. Collect witness contact information
If someone witnessed the incident firsthand, they may be useful as an eyewitness later. Get their name and number.
4. Do not give a statement
If the drone is owned by a large company, their insurance adjuster will be calling moments later. Do not give a statement to their insurance company until you have spoken to a drone injury lawyer about your potential case.
5. Speak with a drone injury lawyer
A lawyer will be able to assess your case and determine the probable available insurance and advise you on your potential drone injury lawsuit.
Who Is Liable For Drone Injury?
Figuring out who is liable for drone injury is a bit difficult with the current lack of legislation. Because it is still fairly new, there is no current case law in the U.S. discussing drone liability. However, known liability concepts already practiced are being used as guidance in handling these legal issues. For example, if a Walmart truck hit a pedestrian, Walmart can be held responsible, the same way the company that owns the commercial drone can be liable.
In personal drone liability, there is also a lack of legal cases. Therefore, it is more of a case of negligence. For example, if you were taking your dog for a walk through the neighborhood and a drone fell on your head, the drone operator is usually liable. Since their increase in popularity, store-bought drones recommend drone liability insurance coverage just in case they injure someone while using their UAV. If the owner of the drone did not do anything wrong, the crash could be a result of a defect, meaning the manufacturer could be held liable. However, this may be more difficult to prove. If you find others who reported a similar drone product defect, you may have a product liability action lawsuit. Still, drone cases are still new to the legal system and require experienced lawyers to fully understand the components of the case.
The personal injury lawyers at The People’s Lawyer are here to help. There is absolutely no cost to you unless we win your case. If the unfortunate occurred and you were injured by drone negligence, you need an experienced drone injury lawyer, call Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi & Pearlman today so we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
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