Drones! They’re everywhere! Officially known as unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAV’s, they come in all sizes and at all prices. Some are as small as a flying insect. Others are full-sized airplanes on bombing missions. They’re used in agriculture, construction, photography, engineering, real estate and many other industries, but now, most recently, they are used just for fun. Among other recreational uses, they’re the new “selfie stick” – fly it over and away from your guests and snap a picture of the whole crew!
700,000 drones have been sold this year in the USA. Every year the number of drones sold quadruples! It is predicted that 400,000 more will be sold this holiday season. You can get one on Amazon for just $50 – with a camera. They’re the hot-selling Christmas gift this year.
They might also be the most dangerous Christmas gifts we have yet seen. Yes, this Christmas we are way past the days of shooting your eye out with a Red Ryder BB gun. We’ve come from “every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings” to “every time a drone passes you might get dinged”. Example: Recently a New York restaurant launched “mistletoe drone” that flew from table to table to coax patrons into kissing on camera. It was a lot of fun and romance until the mobile mistletoe plummeted like a reindeer dropping and mauled a patron’s nose with its unguarded rotor. (I suppose she could have played the part of Rudolph after that).
I’ll admit it; I’m nervous about everyone and their mother flying hunks of spinning metal and carbon fiber over our heads, houses, playgrounds and roadways. And I am not alone. More than 20 states have passed some sort of drone law. And some densely packed cities are considering banning drones altogether.
Regulations or not, people are going to get hurt. Many drones will inevitably plummet from the sky onto people, cars, houses and roadways, causing other accidents and injuries.
Another huge problem with drones is their potential interference with other aircraft. Recreational use of drones is covered by a FAA regulation, which limits their fly zone to below 400 feet and at a certain distance from airports and air traffic, and within sight of the operator. But, surprise! Not everyone follows the rules! Example: Recently a commercial pilot flying into New York City reported a black drone with a 10 to 15 foot wingspan flying at 5,500 feet. Another pilot recently reported a drone the size of a garbage can flying near his plane as he prepared to land in Los Angeles.
Since I’m in the personal injury law business, I guess I should be cheering this new line of potential cases. Just when cars are getting so safe that car accident lawsuits will be drying up in the next decade or two, drones quite literally swoop in to save my job from extinction!
Thanks but no thanks. I’m approaching retirement age. I don’t need the extra business. I’d rather be able to take a walk in the park in my retirement years without wearing a helmet!
But, hey, have you been injured by a drone? Give me a call. If you are injured by a drone, I can almost guarantee you that SOMEONE will be liable to you for your injuries. And — what the hell — we can serve the summons & complaint on them by airmail, with a drone!
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.