Personal Injury from Drone Accident
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
By Jarome Gautreaux

The popularity and use of unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, has exploded in recent years. With their increased use comes an increased concern for safety and privacy and a greater likelihood of someone suffering a personal injury as a result of a drone accident.

Drones are used for many reasons: search & rescue, wildlife tracking, disaster response, etc., and have become hugely popular among consumers for recreational use. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that almost 1 million recreational drones are currently in use in the U.S., and that number is only expected to grow.

Consumer drones can fly around 40-50 mph and have sharp metallic blades, which can cause serious harm should they come into contact with a person.  People who operate drones that injure someone in the process may be held liable for their actions. Negligent drone operation is a fairly new area in the personal injury field, which is why it is important to contact an experienced personal injury firm, such as Gautreaux Law if you’ve been injured by a negligent drone operator.

Drone Accidents and Personal Injuries

With the increasing use of drones comes an increasing number of drone crashes and near misses. There are numerous instances of experienced and inexperienced drone operators who have lost control of their unmanned aircraft. Below are a few examples:

  • A small drone hit a high-voltage power line in California that knocked out power to 1,600 customers for several hours
  • Several instances have occurred where drones have crashed through windows of businesses and residences
  • There have been instances where drones have struck and injured people at parades, a playground, and other spectator events.
  • In December 2014, a drone crashed into a customer at a New York City restaurant, slicing off a piece of her nose & cutting her chin.

Georgia Laws Regarding Privacy Issues

In addition to crashes and injuries, there are privacy issues. Drones are often equipped with cameras that enable the operator to take video or pictures of its surroundings. This can be disconcerting if your neighbor’s drone is hovering outside the window of your house.

The FAA has certain operational restrictions that must be followed when operating a drone, but they do not have restrictions regarding flights over residential areas.  Laws regarding drone privacy is left up to the states. A few states have enacted legislation addressing privacy, such as forbidding the use of a drone for video voyeurism or recording another person without their written consent; however, Georgia isn’t one of them. Georgia has enacted legislation regarding the use of drones over correctional facilities, but they have yet to enact legislation regarding privacy issues.

Tips for Dealing with Privacy & Safety Issues

Consider the following if you have a neighbor who is violating your privacy & safety by flying their drone around and above your home:

  • Try talking to your neighbor. Tell them your concerns and politely ask them to stop flying the drone directly over and around your property. Hopefully, this will solve the problem.
  • Report the drone as a nuisance. If you’ve ever heard a drone flying, then you know how loud they can be. You could possibly argue that the noise is a nuisance, much the same as a neighbor’s dog that won’t quit barking.
  • If your neighbor is unwilling to cooperate, then you could possibly have a legal case for trespassing on your property.
  • If the drone is equipped with video equipment or a camera, then you may be able to argue a legal case for your invasion of privacy.

At Gautreaux Law, we represent all personal injury matters, including those caused by invasions of privacy.  We’ve been helping clients all over Georgia recover for their injuries for over two decades. If you’ve been injured in any way due to someone else’s actions contact us today. We’re here for you. 478-238-9758 or 888-876-6935.

**Anyone interested in flying drones in Georgia or becoming FAA Certified can take an in-person training class through UAV Coach.

About the Author
Jarome Gautreaux is a personal injury trial lawyer. He represents people who have been seriously injured, as well as the families of people killed because of carelessness or negligence. For over 20 years, he has successfully recovered more than 100 million dollars in a variety of Macon personal injury cases. Jarome’s reputation for client focus and case success has led to other lawyers requesting his assistance with complex personal injury litigation. What drives Jarome every day is his strong belief that the amount of money someone has should not dictate the justice they receive. It is for this reason that he has never worked for corporations, insurance companies, or other interest groups. Instead, he thrives on helping the people who need it most- people who have suffered at the hands of others and deserve compensation.