If you were struck by a drone, you may be able to sue for your injuries. Here's what you need to know.
Like most accidents, drone accidents are decided based on negligence. Negligence means that the drone operator had a duty of care to others and breached that duty of care by causing the accident.
Duty of care means flying safely. When you're driving a car, driving safely means things like following the speed limit and checking for traffic before you change lanes. In a drone accident, it can include things like making sure the drone is always in sight and you can see where it's going.
Negligence can also mean breaking laws if those laws relate to safety. For example, if a drone operator flies in a crowded public space where drones aren't allowed and crashes into someone, that is likely negligence. If a drone operator flies too close to an international airport runway and hits a pedestrian for unrelated reasons, that's probably not negligence since the rule is to protect planes not pedestrians.
In any accident, you also need to have damages. Damages mean that you lost money because of personal injuries or property damage.
Someone simply flying a drone near you and annoying you doesn't give you damages unless it's something like a neighbor doing it enough that it counts as harassment. If the drone hits you or your property, you can sue for your medical bills and property repairs. You may also be able to sue for other damages like lost wages while you're dealing with the accident.
Identifying the Drone Operator
In some cases, the drone operator may be out of sight. If you're hit by a drone, call the police just like you would after an auto accident. If the drone can still fly, it's legally questionable if you can hold on to it to keep it from leaving, so you definitely want the police involved to avoid theft accusations.
If the drone operator leaves the drone, you may still be able to identify the operator. Many drones have to be registered with the FAA or file a flight plan. Most drones also have serial numbers. Either the police or your personal injury lawyer can trace the serial number to see who bought the drone. Once you have identified the drone owner, that person usually has strict liability for the accident even if someone else was flying the drone at the time.
For more info, contact a local personal injury lawyer.