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The Dangers of Recreational Drones


Drones: They’re a fun and unique activity. But they also can be dangerous. Although more and more people have and use them, and although they are sold in almost every hobby or toy store you can find, drones aren’t just your average toy. They are high speed machines that often are poorly controlled, and often, with large, spinning blades.

The Dangers of Drones

Many drones can fly as fast as 100 miles per hour. Many have blades like a helicopter that spin in the open, some without guards. Even without the blades, the drones themselves can be large objects that can cause significant injury should they collide with a person.

Unfortunately, many people fly drones in areas that are populated, or in areas where a collision is likely to take place. And many people using those drones have no real idea how to operate them safely.

No Laws No Licenses

That shouldn’t come as a surprise; drones take no real license to operate. The only real laws that apply to drones, apply to accidents that have already happened—the requirement to report accidents caused by drones.

But as far as advanced licensure or training, no such laws exist, other than that drones over 55 pounds have to be registered with the government—although realistically, most drones flown by enthusiasts and hobbyists aren’t that heavy.

There are some state by state laws and regulations, such as those that restrict drones from being flown too close to airports or schools. And, just like a car, it is a crime to operate a drone while intoxicated.

Accidents Can be Serious

You only need to do an online search of drone accidents, to see how common they really are. And although many have come very close to crashing with commercial airlines, it is the more common drone-on-person accidents that have caused the most serious injuries. In January 2023, an actor in a Netflix series was left with his face “seriously disfigured” when a drone ran into him.

Accidents: Who is Liable?

Of course, the drone operator can be liable for injuries caused by a drone. But if the drone’s operator was a minor, the adults may be liable as well, under theories of negligent entrustment.

Property owners that knowingly allow people to use drones on their property may also be liable, if the victim can prove that it was foreseeable that an accident would happen on his or her property.

The practical problem many victims will have is insurance. Most private owners do not have insurance, although if the accident happens on or around someone’s home, homeowner’s insurance may provide coverage.

Commercially owned drones are more likely to be insured for accidents caused by the drone.

Were you injured by a drone or in a drone accident? Contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian and schedule a consultation today for a free consultation.


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