Quadcopters have crashed all over the place. One even crashed on the White House grounds. Nobody was hurt, but it did put the building and grounds on lockdown. They’re not harmless little devices though. Even a light quadcopter weighs over two pounds, and from 400 feet up, an unsuspecting person can get seriously injured or killed if he or she gets hit by one that falls from the sky.
The blades also cause serious injuries. For example, a DJI Phantom 3’s propellers can twirl around at 9,000 RPMs – these $700 aerial vehicles are like flying blenders. In fact, a 19-year-old New York man was killed by his own quadcopter when he lost control of it while he was stunt flying it. He was hit in the head by it and suffered a partial decapitation. In Richmond, one dropped out of the sky at the Virginia Motorsports Park and injured four to five people, one of which was hospitalized. Current FAA guidelines tell pilots not to fly over people, but some still do it, especially if they have lost control of their drone or the drone is returning to home on a flight path that it chose when the battery became low.
Drone injury liability
As quadcopters become more popular with the general public, these types of accidents are only going to become more common. In the arena of personal injury law, an operator of a quadcopter who loses control of it can be a viable defendant. So can the manufacturer. If the operator blames the crash on malfunction, the manufacturer might be brought into a lawsuit through a third party action. Although the issue of loss of control is ultimately up to a judge and jury, it’s no different than losing control of your car and hitting somebody under perfect road and weather conditions. That happens every day. After all, we all know that what goes up must come down. With a quadcopter, it’s just a question of what made it come down.
Was the operator insured?
Homeowners insurance might cover a quadcopter injury to a third party, but if quadcopters or similar unmanned aerial vehicles haven’t been excluded from coverage already, expect them to be soon. Specific liability insurance would be highly recommended for any operator.
Causes of crashes
Any number of factors can cause or contribute to a quadcopter crash. Those might include:
- User error
- High winds
- Battery failure
- Defective parts
Depending on the injuries claimed by the victim of a quadcopter crash, specific damages can be sought. Some of those are:
- Past and future medical bills and rehabilitation
- Past and future lost earnings
- Any permanent scarring
- Any permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of a normal life
- Funeral and burial costs in the event of a fatality
If you’ve been injured by a quadcopter or a drone, contact us right away for a free consultation and case evaluation.