Drones, which are also referred to as unmanned aerial vehicles or unmanned aircraft systems, are becoming more and more mainstream. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there could be as many as 7,500 small, commercial drones in the sky by 2018. This figure does not include the recreational drones that are already in flight or the estimated two million consumer drones that will be sold around the world in 2016 alone. Although drones may have a surprising number of recreational and commercial uses, they also pose certain risks.
Federal Drone Regulations
Because drones are operated remotely by a human on the ground or autonomously, regulators and law enforcement agencies have expressed safety concerns over the possibility of collisions with airplanes or people that could result in injuries. For non-recreational drones under 55 pounds, pilots must:
- Be at least 16 years of age
- Hold a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating or be under the direct supervision of someone who holds such a certificate
- Be vetted by TSA
- Register their drones and contact information in a national database
Although operators of recreational drones have looser regulations, they are also required to register with the UAS registry and comply with the FAA safety guidelines, which are intended to reduce the risk to other aircraft and people. Under the current safety guidelines, operators must keep their drones within eyesight and are prohibiting from flying them:
- Near another aircraft
- Near groups of people
- Near emergency response efforts
- Over stadiums or sports events
- Above 400 feet
- Under the influence
The Texas legislature recently passed a set of laws, which regulate how and where a drone may be used.
Drone accidents resulting in injury are usually the result of operator negligence or defective or malfunctioning equipment. Drone propellers are fast moving blades that can cause real damage if it comes in contact with a person. Drones that fall out of the sky either because of a crash, malfunction, or loss of operator control, can result in serious head injuries to people on the ground. In fact, an 11-month old child in Pasadena, California was injured last year when she was struck in the head by a privately-owned drone.
When drones are not operated responsibly, they can lead to serious injury. Under Texas law, drone operators who act negligently can potentially be held liable for any injuries he or she causes. Additionally, if you are injured because of a drone’s manufacturing or design defect, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses through a product liability claim.
Contact an Experienced Houston Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a family member have been injured by a drone due to operator negligence or a defect, contact The Krist Law Firm, P.C. today to discuss your options. At The Krist Law Firm, P.C., we have over four decades of experience handling virtually every type of personal injury case. We have helped our clients recover past and future:
- Medical costs
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical impairment
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Our personal injury lawyers are committed to providing exceptional client service with the goal of obtaining the maximum possible compensation in each and every case. Contact us today at (281) 283-8500. We offer a free consultation and there are no fees unless we achieve a recovery on your behalf.