California Drone Accident Attorneys
Drones are becoming increasingly common across the California skies. But with the growing popularity of these unmanned aerial crafts comes greater dangers. Drones create a serious risk of injuries and invasion of privacy – but the California drone accident lawyers of Bisnar Chase are here to help.
The laws surrounding drone accidents in California can be murky. This is a relatively new technology, and the law is struggling to keep up. But we have already seen numerous accidents, crashes, and drone lawsuits.
If you have suffered an injury in a drone crash, had property damaged by an out-of-control craft, or believe your privacy has been compromised by an aerial spy camera, turn to our drone accident attorneys for expert help. We have a 96% success rate and offer a ‘No Win, No Fee’ promise to all clients.
What Is a Drone?
To put it simply, a drone is an unmanned remote-controlled flying gadget.
These small machines are usually battery-powered, and fly using at least three propellers, controlled by a remote pilot. The most popular drone designs feature four propellers (also known as quadcopters), while others could use six or eight propellers to provide extra power, maneuverability, and function.
Drones can be used in a variety of different ways. Recreational drones are mainly just flown for fun, while some people build custom machines for professional drone racing. Other recreational drones can be fitted with cameras for aerial photography and filming.
Some companies are also using or experimenting with commercial drones. Amazon and the United States Postal Service, among others, are testing delivery drones, which could one day be used to regularly drop packages at customer doorsteps. Other commercial drones are already an essential part of some industries, used to check powerlines and carry out work on farms.
While consumer drones are battery-powered, the military also utilizes specially designed drones fitted with engines and high-tech gear for combat, recon and surveillance missions.
With so many drones already in the air and soon to be flying, there will be an increase in drone crashes and accidents in California. If you need to pursue a drone accident lawsuit, contact the expert drone attorneys at Bisnar Chase now.
Types of Drone Accidents and Drone Lawsuits
A variety of different incidents can result in a drone crash lawsuit.
Drone Accident Injuries
When you hear the whir, buzz, or hum of a drone overhead, you need to be careful. A drone can injure a person in several ways.
Drones can move quickly, can sometimes suffer mechanical issues mid-flight, and are not always easy to control for novices. If a drone hits you at high speed it can result in serious injuries.
Drone Payload Drop
With tests ongoing and regular drone deliveries likely to be a reality, there is a danger that the items being carried by the drone could become dislodged or drop unexpectedly, injuring people below.
A drone’s propeller moves at extreme speeds, as needed for the gadget’s flight. But if a propeller comes into contact with a person while it is in motion, it could cause very serious injuries.
Drone Crash Damage
In the same way that an out-of-control can cause injury if it hits a person, that same drone could cause major damage to anything it collides with. Our drone accident lawyers work with victims to make sure they are not left out of pocket if their property is destroyed by a rogue drone.
Drone Invasion of Privacy
The privacy laws surrounding drones are still in a state of flux and have not yet caught up with the emerging drone technology. This will be explored in greater detail on this page. However, drones featuring high-definition cameras can create the capacity for a person’s privacy to be violated. If you have been a victim of such drone use, contact an attorney now.
Drone Crash Injuries
Drone crashes involving people happen more than you might think. When a high-speed aerial gadget crashes into an unsuspecting bystander, it can do a lot of damage.
Some of the most common drone crash injuries include:
- Cuts and bruising
- Head injuries
- Significant contusions and lacerations from impacts or shrapnel
- Eye injuries
A study was carried out by experts using processes similar to car crash testing to assess drone crash risks. While not all drones are necessarily dangerous, the study concluded that the gadgets do carry the potential for serious harm, and offered safety advice to drone manufacturers.
A separate test was carried out by TV show Mythbusters. The presenters crashed a series of different drone designs into the fleshy throat area of a test dummy. They discovered that lower grade recreational drones have propellers designed to bend under contact to prevent serious injury – though even the impact of a toy drone could cause pain and suffering.
However, higher-grade carbon propellers sliced through the dummy flesh, proving that they would cause major injury in a real-world situation.
Keep reading our comprehensive guide to find out what to do if you are the victim of a drone crash injury – and to find out how our drone crash liability lawyers can help you.
Drone Crash Injury Case Studies
As the number of unmanned aerial vehicles being operated in California increases, our drone accident liability lawyers expect to see a spike in drone injury claims and lawsuits. But there have already been a large number of incidents.
In some cases, an inexperienced drone operator will be injured themselves, while other incidents see unlucky bystanders come off worse.
These are just a few examples of incidents which could be handled by drone crash lawyers in California:
Photographer Hit in the Face by Restaurant Drone Propellers
A photojournalist suffered multiple cuts to her face after being hit by a drone in a TGI Fridays restaurant in New York. The drone was flying over the heads of customers and dangling mistletoe as part of a Christmas promotion in 2014. But one woman was hit in the face by the machine’s propellers after it flipped out of control. She suffered a cut to her chin and said the drone took a chunk out of her nose.
Australian Triathlete Hit in the Head by Falling Drone
An athlete was hit in the head by an out-of-control drone as she was about to cross the finish line of a race in Australia. The drone was hovering about 30 feet above the ground to film the home stretch of a triathlon in 2014. It veered out of control and plummeted toward the ground, hitting the runner in the head. The impact left her bleeding and requiring stitches.
Wedding Guests Sue Groom Over Drone Injuries
Two women were hit by a speeding drone while they were on the dance floor at a wedding in 2016. The victims say the groom was flying the drone over the dance floor to capture video footage of his wedding reception. But the drone fell, hitting two women and leaving them with concussions. One of the victims also suffered a fractured nose, while the other suffered drone propeller injuries and needed 20 stitches for a facial laceration. They filed a lawsuit against the groom and wedding venue.
Baby Injured by Shrapnel After Drone Crash in CA Street
An 11-month-old child was hit in the face by sharp shrapnel after a drone crashed into the sidewalk next to her and sent debris flying in all directions. The drone fell from the sky without warning in 2015, leaving the victims in Pasadena, California, requiring hospital treatment. The drone owner lost control of his gadget, sending it crashing into the ground at high speed. The impact sent drone shrapnel into the face of the baby, leaving her with deep cuts to her cheek and forehead.
Drone Crash Liability
Drones can cause injuries when they malfunction or are misused. But who is responsible for a drone crash? And who is liable for the victim’s injuries and suffering?
These are not always straightforward questions. Several parties could share drone crash liability in the event of an accident – and could be targeted in a lawsuit. These include:
The person controlling a drone (whether or not they are the drone owner) must make sure they are operating it safely. Drone operator negligence can result in the user being sued over personal injuries. In drone spying cases, the culprit could face a lawsuit over invasion of privacy, trespassing, or nuisance behavior. In many cases, plaintiffs will claim against the operator’s drone insurance.
If a drone accident occurred on private property, the owner of the property may be held responsible through a premise liability lawsuit.
The company which produced the drone could face a product liability lawsuit if an accident is caused by a mechanical fault. Manufacturers may also be liable if they fail to provide proper risk warnings.
Employer of Drone Operator:
An employer could be sued for vicarious liability if a negligent drone user is using the gadget in a work capacity.
These are just some of the parties that could face legal troubles if a person is injured by a drone. Some incidents may involve multiple parties being liable; it will all come down to the circumstances of a specific incident.
If you are injured, sustain property damage, or have your privacy compromised by a drone, you may be able to claim compensation.
Contact the drone crash liability attorneys of Bisnar Chase for expert help in your case.
What are the Drone Laws in California?
Drone laws in California are divided into two categories: federal and state.
Federal Drone Laws in California
The federal drone laws, which apply to the entire United States, are outlined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Some of the key FAA drone rules include:
- Register your drone
- A pilot certificate is required for commercial use
- Do not fly a drone in controlled airspace (example: the airspace around airports)
- Do not fly a drone while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Keep your drone at or below 400 feet, and only fly it in your line of sight
- No reckless or careless drone operation
- Do not fly over events or crowds without proper permission and consent
- Do not drop payload items if it would create a hazard
- Do not carry a payload which could affect the safe operation of the drone
Click to read a full rundown of the FAA regulations.
California State Drone Laws
The state laws surrounding drones are very limited. However, they currently include:
- Expanding privacy laws to address spying using a drone when people have a reasonable expectation of privacy
- Classing drone operation as a hazardous recreational activity to ensure that public entity liability applies
Our drone laws are complex and sometimes difficult to apply, but flouting them constitutes negligent behavior and can make operators liable for any injuries or damage caused.
Get the justice you deserve by contacting our drone accident lawyers in California for advice now.
The Problem with California Drone Laws
We have outlined some of the main drone laws above, but the legal situation surrounding unmanned craft liability and the misuse of drones is still murky.
While the increase in drone use has been rapid, the law has not quite caught up. At the moment, California courts look to the federal guidelines when it comes to drone accident claims and drone crash injury compensation. However, these rules are not yet as thorough as they could be.
Currently, there is no comprehensive set of laws governing all drone liability scenarios.
For instance, the current rules do not clearly define who owns airspace, where a person’s private property extends to, and how this impacts liability. It also does not cover drones operated by autonomous flight systems without a pilot.
Whether you have been the victim of an injury or invasion of privacy, contact the California drone crash liability lawyers of Bisnar Chase to seek compensation now.
What to Do if You are Injured by a Drone
There are several steps that you can take after being involved in a drone-related incident to protect your rights and build a strong case to ensure you are properly compensated.
- Obtain Contact Details: If the drone operator identifies themselves, take down their name, address, phone number, and insurance details.
- Document the Drone: Take a picture of the drone and write down its make, model, and unique FAA registration number.
- Contact the Police: Report the incident to the police. If the drone operator is not identified, hand over the drone to officers. Request a copy of the police report.
- Document the Scene: Take pictures of the scene and your injuries, talk to witnesses and take statements and contact details.
- Medical Attention: Seek treatment for your injuries. If you have sustained serious injuries, this should be your first step. Request copies of your medical reports to be used in your case.
- Contact an Attorney: Call the drone accident liability lawyers of Bisnar Chase for guidance on your next step.
Drone Accident Insurance
Many drone accident lawsuits are filed against pilot insurance policies.
While there have been several attempts to introduce drone insurance regulations in the U.S., drone users in America are not yet required to carry insurance by law in most cases. But responsible pilots must ensure that they are covered.
There are two types of drone insurance coverage:
- Insurance covering damage to the drone itself
- Liability insurance against claims for damage and injuries caused by the drone
According to Drones Buy, drone liability insurance costs and coverage vary:
A drone pilot’s homeowners’ insurance might protect them in some accident cases, but it is advised that you purchase a dedicated policy for comprehensive drone accident insurance.
Outside the U.S., Sweden already forces both commercial and recreational drone pilots to carry insurance. Canada is also looking to introduce a law making an insurance policy with $100,000 of coverage a requirement. American laws could eventually follow suit.
Some commercial pilots already carry drone insurance as standard. The California Film Commission requires pilots working in the movie industry to carry liability coverage of $2 million, while many clients hiring drone operators will now require them to carry insurance.
Many drone rental companies are now providing insurance as standard within their rental packages. By doing so, they protect their company and customers in the event of an accident, and a drone liability lawsuit.
Drone Lawsuit FAQs
Drone law can be complicated. If you have been injured or need information on certain aspects of the law, check out our frequently asked questions about drones below. If our FAQs do not answer your query, do not hesitate to contact our drone accident law firm for more information.
It will depend on several factors. Drone insurance is not currently required by law. However, many operators are purchasing it in case of an accident, ensuring that victims are compensated if they file a lawsuit. Without dedicated insurance, the pilot’s homeowner’s insurance may provide some coverage – depending on the incident and the drone type. It may also be possible to file a lawsuit against another party. Contact a drone injury lawyer to assess your options.
No. The laws defining the legality of flying drones in certain areas are still emerging, and rules are already in place to protect people from having their privacy invaded by drones…but you still should not shoot down a drone over your property. If you do so, you could face legal action.
Yes, it is a good idea to contact the police after an incident involving a drone. If officers attend the scene, they will take witness statements and produce a police report. A copy of the report can be requested and used as evidence in your lawsuit.
Most drone owners are responsible and will stay at the scene after an accident. If they do not, stay with the drone and contact the police. Check whether the drone has a registration number on it (as required by the FAA) before handing over to law enforcement officers and contacting an attorney.
You can contact the drone accident lawyers at Bisnar Chase through various channels. Call us on (949) 203-3814, or visit our website at www.bestattorney.com to fill in a contact form or use the Live Chat feature.
Drone Statistics and Facts
These are some of the key facts and stats that show the capabilities and rising popularity of drones:
- Toy drones have a top speed of about 12mph, while trick drones can do 40-70mph, and high-end racing drones can hit 120mph
- Nearly 800,000 drones were sold in the U.S. in 2016 – a huge 40% year-on-year increase
- The legal drone speed limit is 100mph
- There are more than 1.5 million registered drones across the United States
- California has the most registered drones of any state
- 162,000 licensed drone pilots are certified to fly commercial drones in the U.S.
- Top uses for commercial drones are photography, industrial inspections, and farming
- The number of drone sales (recreational and commercial) is expected to quadruple by 2024
Drone Accident Compensation
Our attorneys are dedicated to making sure drone accident injury victims get the compensation they deserve. One of the first questions that many clients ask is how much their lawsuit might be worth. But there is no easy answer to this question.
A victim’s injury settlement or award will depend on a range of factors. These include:
- The severity of injuries – physical and emotional
- Lost wages
- Medical costs
- Pain and suffering
- Ongoing issues
The drone accident lawyers at Bisnar Chase have years of experience in building strong cases and securing the best results possible for clients.
Hiring the Best Drone Accident Lawyer
Drones are set to become a major part of our skies in the coming years, both as high-tech gadgets and as essential parts of billion-dollar industries. But with this increase comes greater risk. That is where the drone accident attorneys at Bisnar Chase come in.
Our firm has been winning cases for more than four decades. We have a 96% success rate and have won more than $650 million for our clients. We believe in providing superior representation, and offer a ‘No Win, No Fee’ guarantee to make sure victims will not pay out of pocket. We only get paid if we win your case. Our firm also provides a free initial consultation to guide potential clients without requiring a commitment.
At Bisnar Chase, our attorneys are expert negotiators and dedicated trial lawyers. We aim to make sure every victim is properly compensated for their pain and suffering, and will not hesitate to take a case to trial if necessary.
Our lawyers can take on drone cases throughout Southern California, from Orange County to Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire. We take pride in helping those who do not know where to turn and are passionate about changing lives for the better.
Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys
1301 Dove St., #120
Newport Beach, CA 92660