Drone: noun, An unmanned or remote-controlled aircraft system involves a flying machine without a pilot on board.
Remote-controlled flying machines, commonly referred today as “drones,” have been commonplace in the U.S. for several years. Initially, these unmanned devices were used largely by the military and the film and photography industries. Over the last several years, and with the reignited popularity of sci-fi films like Star Wars, drones have become both inexpensive and reliable, being used more and more by the general public. Even Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer was recently pushed back to start ALCS Game 3 due to a finger injury that was caused by a drone. While the drone trend continues to rise, so is the likelihood of injury.
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Florida Drone Laws
Whenever a drone accident occurs, questions of responsibility and insurance logically surface. Generally, if a person flies a drone as a hobby, the likelihood that his or her homeowner’s insurance will cover the costs of the victim’s injuries is high. On the other hand, if the drone causes a larger aircraft, such as a helicopter or plane, to sustain damage or crash and cause injuries to others, the issue may not be so clear.
The aforementioned scenario is not so far-fetched: Between January and August of 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that more than 650 near-accidents involving drones and FAA regulated aircraft occurred. A drone is 100 times more likely to crash than an ordinary aircraft. In 2015, the Florida legislature passed its second drone law prohibiting surveillance when there is a reasonable expectation of privacy by this unmanned aircraft and specifically creating a definition for the term. The prior drone law, passed in 2013, blocked most state agencies from flying a drone for any basic purpose, including research.
Who is Responsible for Drone Accidents?
The most recent law allows for an injured victim to sue and recover costs from the drone owner and operator if the device was a substantial contributing factor in causing the damage. If the damage resulted from a design or manufacturing defect, the manufacturer and distributor of the drone could also be pursued legally according to news reports.
To successfully win a Florida drone accident case, a victim must show:
- The operator acted negligently by failing to take reasonable care
- This failure to act caused the accident, and
- The victim was injured as a result
Damages in the form of economic and noneconomic losses may be recovered including pain and suffering, medical bills, legal expenses, loss of income, incidental expenses and, if intentional misconduct or gross negligence is found, punitive damages.
If you are injured by a drone, make sure to take the following steps in order to preserve your rights under the law:
- Seek medical attention immediately
- Obtain proper documentation regarding your treatment
- File a police report regarding the incident
- Determine who owns or operated the drone that injured you
- Collect contact information of any witnesses to the drone accident; and
- Contact a knowledgeable Florida personal injury attorney
Over the last several years, and with the reignited popularity of sci-fi films like Star Wars, drones have become both inexpensive and reliable, being used more and more by the general public.
When it comes to the personal and business online “world”, then, and to borrow a phrase from the 1980’s television series Hill Street Blues, “Let’s be careful out there”.
One minor thing not to forget. This very blog “lives” online, so the precautions mentioned above are always in the background “here”, as well.
Protecting the Rights of Drone Accident Victims in Central Florida
Drone accidents may occur for a number of reasons: battery failure, operator error, defective parts, collision with other objects or inclement weather. No matter what the cause, it is important to seek out a seasoned personal injury attorney if you have been injured in a Florida drone accident. With more than 35 years of experience representing victims in all types of injury claims, the personal injury attorneys at Bogin, Munns & Munns can advocate on your behalf for the compensation you deserve.Schedule your free personal injury case evaluation.
NOTICE: The article above is not intended to serve as legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. It is offered only as general information. You should consult with a duly licensed attorney regarding your Florida legal matter, as every situation is unique. Please know that merely reading this article, subscribing to this blog, or otherwise contacting Bogin, Munns & Munns does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our firm. Should you seek legal representation from Bogin, Munns & Munns, any such representation must first be agreed to by the firm and confirmed in a written agreement.