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A drone is an unmanned aircraft. In a real sense, a drone is a flying robot. Formally, they are known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), and can either be remotely controlled or flown autonomously using software-controlled flight plans that is in their embedded systems and works in conjunctions with onboard GPS and sensors.
At first, drones were mainly used by the military for anti-aircraft target practice and for intelligence gathering. Today, drones have a wide range of uses and are accessible by civilians for search and rescue, traffic monitoring, surveillance, firefighting and weather monitoring. Drones have also become a popular option for photography purposes since they provide great aerial views.
Due to the increase in use of drones, many people have now experienced a drone accident injury. If you have experienced any type of drone injury, it is advisable to speak with a knowledgeable drone injury lawyer like those at Avrek Law about compensation for your injuries and damages.
History of the Drone
The first ever drone was called the Queen Bee and it was fitted with a radio and a server operated control in the back seat. Conventionally, the drone was supposed to be operated from the front seat, but it flew unmanned. Today there are various private companies that have been given the mandate to build drones.
Amazon was the first company in 2013 to announce that it would use drones for commercial deliveries. Drone surveillance and drone journalism is also popular today. Drone racing is also a popular venture among drone lovers. More and more people have been interested in drones and drone schools have even been opened to teach people about drones.
Regulation of Drones
The high use of drones has brought about the need to have laws in place that regulate their use. In the past, drones have been found to cause accidents or hit aircrafts, which is obviously dangerous and cause drone injuries.
The U.S. Federation Aviation Administration (FAA) has provided regulations that manage drones and mitigate accidents with drones. The regulations are referred to as the unmanned aircraft rules under Part 107, and the regulations place limits on autonomous and semi-autonomous drone operation. The regulations include:
- A drone/unmanned aircraft should remain within a visual line-of-sight (VLOS) of the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS or, alternately, within VLOS of the visual observer.
- A drone should at all times remain close enough the remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls for those people to be capable of seeing the aircraft unaided by any device other than corrective lenses.
- Drones shouldn’t operate directly over persons who are not operating it or under a covered structure or inside a covered stationary vehicle.
- Daylight-only operations or civil twilight (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset, local time) with appropriate anti-collision lighting.
- Drones must yield the right of way to other aircraft.
Drone Accident Statistics
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there were 582 new reports of incidents that were connected to unmanned aircraft in the U.S. airspace system. These reports dated from August 21, 2015 to January 31, 2016.
- The findings show that the new reports matched those of past trends.
- Only a third of all the incidents were Close Encounters, i.e. these are incidents that would lead to a potential hazard or drone accident injury.
- Reported incidents continue to increase as compared to previous years. During this period, there were three times the number of accidents as compared to the previous year at the same time.
- Out of five incidents, three happened within 5 miles of an airport, and nine out 0f 10 incidents occurred above 400 feet.
- A third of all Close Encounter incidents involved a multi-engine aircraft.
- There were 24 incidents where drones came within 50 feet of a manned aircraft. There were 11 incidences where aircraft made maneuvers to avoid the drone.
Statistics in Cities
In New York City and Newark, NJ, there were 43 close encounters and sightings. In Los Angeles and Long Beach, there were 25 close encounters and sightings. In Dallas and Addison, TX, there were 18 close encounters and findings. In San Diego, there were 15 close encounters and sightings, while in Orlando and Houston there were 13 and 11 close encounters and sightings. In both Philadelphia, PA and Santa Ana, CA, there were nine close encounters and sightings, and in both Atlanta and Chicago, there were eight close encounters and findings. In Seattle, there were seven close encounters and sightings.
According to a research done by Mashable, most drone accidents are caused by technological issues rather than human error. The FAA estimated that 2.5 million drones were being used in 2016, and there are more than 406,000 people who have registered their drones. However, their files show that only 320,000 were recorded to have been piloted.
The first death related to a drone accident injury was reported in London when a young woman died in a car crash. She was the driving the car and it was believed that her boyfriend was operating the drone. The drone was found in their car.
Another serious drone accident happened when a drone narrowly missed colliding with an Airbus A320, which was taking odd from Heathrow Airport in London. The Civil Aviation Authority in the U.K. rated this incident as a “serious risk of collision.” This is the top rating of a collision.
Causes of Drone Accidents and Drone Accident Injuries
Many people see drones as harmless and the machines are great to use. However, drones have been known to cause serious injuries. Some of the main causes of drone accidents include:
Drones come in various sizes. Common types of drones include:
- Tricopter – a drone with three propellers.
- Quadrocopter – a drone with four propellers.
- Octocopter – this is a drone with four propellers. It is sometimes referred to as a multicopter or a hexacopter.
- Camera drone.
- A drone with or without GPS.
- Drone with stabilizers.
Some of the injuries that can be caused by drones include:
- Facial lacerations
- Hand injuries
- Head injuries
- Eye injuries
- Potential broken bones, back, neck and spinal cord injuries.
Steps to Take When You Have Experienced a Drone Injury
If you have suffered an injury from a drone accident, you should first ensure that you get medical help. Drones can lead to serious injuries and in some cases they may be internal. You may think that you are okay, but it is always recommended that you seek medical assistance.
Next, contact the company that had licensed you and inform them of the accident. Also, ensure you get you drone repaired before using it again. If you don’t fully know how operate a drone, learn the skills required to so to avoid other drone injuries. You can either go online or ask for guidance at the place where you bought the drone.
Finally, if you have been injured by a drone, no matter the circumstance, and would like to explore compensation for your injuries, contact a personal injury lawyer that handles drone accident cases.
Drone Accident Insurance
Homeowners policies and renters policies normally cover drones as personal property, and the average deductible is $500. However, according to the non-profit Insurance Information Group, only 40 percent of renters in the United States have coverage.
Insurance coverage that covers injury and damage caused by a drone normally relies on the circumstances of the accident. One has to prove that there was negligence, and if the drone damaged someone’s property, it improves the chances of getting damages.
Every claim is evaluated depending on its own merit with the insurance company. If a drone causes damage to your personal property, then it falls under basic coverage on your structure. Although, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover injuries to your own family members or pets. This is covered by medical insurance policy.
If body injury is caused by a drone to someone who is outside your family, the liability will fall under homeowner’s policy. This will also protect you from lawsuits over privacy issues. In a case where a drone falls from the sky and causes damage to your car, then this will be covered by the comprehensive section of auto policy and in many cases it is in the deductibles.
If a drone weighs over 0.55 pounds, it is required to be registered with the Federal Aviation Agency. In case there is an accident, the drone owner can be identified and insurance can file a claim under the person’s home or renter’s policy.
Do I Need a Drone Injury Lawyer?
If you’ve been involved in a drone accident injury, it is a good idea to consult with a qualified drone injury lawyer who can help you obtain compensation for your injuries and damages.
With more than 50 years of combined experience resolving cases in favor of wrongfully injured clients, Avrek Law has recovered more than $1 billion in compensation for injury victims in over 45,000 cases – seeking the guidance of an experienced personal injury firm is the first step in getting the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more – we’re here to help!