According to the Consumer Technology Association, about 1.1 million drones were purchased over the holiday season. As the California skies become even more crowded with drones – with some weighing more than 50 pounds – the potential for personal injury from the small crafts has drastically increased.
We’re not being alarmists. According to the FAA – which has issued requirements that all owners register their drones –there were more than 650 drone incidents reported last year. San Diego ranked third in the number of drone instances reported in California.
In September, the Los Angeles Times covered a Pasadena incident in which an 11-month-old girl was struck by a crashing drone, causing a contusion on her forehead and hospital treatment.
The potential for injury extends beyond neighborhood streets. Since April 2014, pilots on approach to Los Angeles International Airport reported more than 40 dangerous encounters with drones. Drones can be especially tricky as operators are often unfamiliar with the variety of conditions – including wind gusts, changes in weather, birds and buildings – that can cause their drones to crash.
There’s more than physical bodily injuries when it comes to drones. Claims of privacy invasion, which fall under personal injury, are also in play.
According to a law passed by the State of California in 2014, you have the right to a reasonable expectation of privacy. This means that it is against the law for someone to take videos or photos of you by use of a drone if the photo could not have been taken otherwise without trespassing.
In a press release issued by his office, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said “Every drone pilot should check with their insurance agent before they lift off.” That’s because most homeowner insurance policies will likely cover the liability for drone-related accidents. Because they are still so new to the market, the insurance industry is still trying to get its footing regarding the potential avenues for litigation and responsibility.
Because legislation of drone use is evolving, you need to consult an experienced lawyer who is skilled in the area of personal injury. If the drone operator lacks insurance, your lawyer can most likely resourcefully apply case law.
If you’ve been physically injured by a drone or suspect that your privacy may have been violated, contact the skilled lawyers at Gilleon Law Firm, APC for a free consultation.