Financial Recovery for Drone Accidents in California
Drones are no longer a new U.S. phenomenon, not when federal statistics show over 1.2 million registered recreational drones, 500,000 registered commercial drones, and 200,000 certified remote pilots.
While drones were once primarily a military tool, operated only by trained service members, civilian consumers can now purchase drones without federal or state authority or training.
Hundreds of thousands of drones now fly all over the country. The most common uses of drones include:
- recreational use,
- commercial delivery,
- crowd control,
- surveying and other missions.
As a result, drones are causing accident after accident, often from the crash of the drone itself but also from the drone's interference with motor vehicles, air flights, or other activity.
In 2020 alone, California saw at least two drone crashes into helicopters, one an LAPD helicopter and the other a helicopter filming a Southern California off-road racing event. Southern California also saw two military drone helicopter crashes in 2020.
Drones also hit motor vehicles traveling at high speeds, causing injuries to the vehicle occupants. While drones crashing into aircraft and motor vehicles create one hazard, drone crashes can injure persons on the ground.
To give readers a better understanding of recovering financial compensation in a drone accident, our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers are providing a detailed review below.
Right of Financial Recovery for Injuries
The right to recover for personal injury or property damage due to drone misuse depends on the law of negligence.
Negligence law requires showing that the wrongdoer owed a duty that the wrongdoer breached, causing another loss from the drone's impact.
The duty that the law imposes on a drone operator and anyone else acting in a way that creates a foreseeable risk of harm is to exercise reasonable care.
Fault – negligence - carelessness
The breach of that duty, which the law variously calls fault, negligence, or carelessness, must bring about the loss or be a substantial factor in its cause for the victim to recover from the operator or operator's insurer.
Drone operators are unquestionably engaged in an activity that has a foreseeable risk of harm.
Types of Financial Losses in Drone Accidents
Negligence law thus imposes on drone operators a duty of reasonable care, the breach of which creates a private right of action for the financial loss.
Financial losses associated with drone impacts can include:
- medical expense for treatment of physical, mental, or emotional injury;
- pain, suffering, disfigurement, scarring, and lost enjoyment of life;
- mental and emotional distress, fear, fright, shock, and humiliation;
- wage loss, loss of benefits, and lost earning capacity;
- damage to or destruction of personal property, reducing its value;
- damage to real property including buildings and other structures; and
- lost profits and loss of use of personal and real property.
Establishing Standards of Care
To prove a drone operator's breach of duty, meaning carelessness or the lack of reasonable care, a claimant must establish the drone operator's standard of care.
This is what an ordinarily prudent drone operator would have done differently to avoid the accident. Federal Aviation Administration rules supply one such standard of care.
When a drone operator violates one or more of these rules, a jury may find the operator negligent for purposes of a financial recovery by the one harmed:
- fly only for registration permits;
- fly at or below 400 feet when in uncontrolled airspace;
- fly in controlled airspace only with authorization;
- never fly airspaces where drone flights are not allowed;
- fly only within your visual line of sight or that of a co-located observer;
- fly at night only with lighting for drone location and orientation;
- yield to, and do not interfere with, manned aircraft;
- never fly over any person or moving vehicle;
- never interfere with emergency response activities;
- never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- never fly carelessly or recklessly.
Personal Injury Lawyer for California Drone Accidents
Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys can help you with your injury claim from a drone accident or other cause on a contingency fee basis.
This means that you pay nothing for our lawyers to evaluate, prepare, and present your claim unless you make a financial recovery. Any fee we earn comes out of the recovery.
Get the best personal injury lawyers with no risk of having to pay out of pocket for it. Drone and other serious injury accidents are not new to our law firm.
We have the skill and experience to investigate drones and other serious injury accidents.
We will gather evidence of injury or other loss and its cause in carelessness and present that information to insurers or, if necessary, a judge or jury for a fair award of damages.
Injury Justice Law Firm are top-ranked personal injury lawyers serving victims of negligence throughout Southern California, including Los Angeles County, Orange County, Santa Barbara County, Ventura County, Riverside, and San Bernardino.
We are located at 1999 Avenue of the Stars, 11th Fl., Los Angeles, CA 90067.
Our main office is in the San Fernando Valley area of LA County next to the Van Nuys Superior Court at 14401 Sylvan St #112 Van Nuys, CA 91401.
Contact our firm for a free case evaluation at (818) 781-1570.