Can Drone Manufacturers Be Held Responsible For Injury?
Over forty states have approved drone laws, as have major cities such as Miami, Chicago, or Los Angeles.
While drones may not fly as high as airplanes or other aircraft, they are still an aircraft product and face Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. They also are subject to accidents and issues that could cause you harm.
The FAA has regulations that prevent the flying of drones over people without permission from the government. If you happen to be outside and a drone above you malfunctions, you could suffer serious injuries if it were to fall on you. Most often, this would be a head injury. Head injuries are always serious and require medical attention because the extent of the damage is not apparent to the naked eye.
DRONE-RELATED INJURIES IN SOUTH FLORIDA
The spinning blades that keep a drone in the air are sharp and can cause serious harm. If a drone operator loses control of the drone, the machine can crash at any time. An infant lost his eye as a result of the spinning blades coming into contact with his face after a neighbor lost control of a drone. A drone flying as fast as a car runs can have dangerous and potentially deadly consequences.
There are many instances where the improper handling of drones has injured people. Perhaps one of the most notable cases is where a wedding photographer crashed his three-pound drone into the faces of two guests during the reception.
Drones might fail, crashing into people or harming them in some way. When this happens, the drone operator may not be the only party responsible for the injuries, but rather, the company that designed and manufactured the drone may also be held responsible.
When companies manufacture and sell defective products that seriously injure or even kill people, you may assume that you can use tools such as lawsuits to hold those corporations accountable for their actions. But companies frequently do not see it that way, and they do whatever they can to make sure the courthouse doors are not open to people injured by their wrongdoing.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH FEDERAL REGULATIONS PREEMPTING STATE LAW IN DRONE INJURY CASES?
Some in Congress are attempting to draw a legislative line between where the FAA control of the national airspace ends and local control begins. One question unresolved by the regulations governing the commercial use of drones is the extent to which federal law preempts state and local laws governing drone use.
The issue whether the FAA’s regulations preempted the branch of state tort law known as products liability law might sound too technical. However, it has potentially far-reaching effects on both the level of product safety that you enjoy and the ability of injured people to access the courts to vindicate their rights and hold corporations accountable for unacceptably dangerous actions and dangerous products.
This issue is especially crucial given that the other legal institutions aimed at addressing harmful corporate behavior or products, namely, federal and state regulatory agencies, offer protections that are often not stringent enough or that are poorly enforced, enabling scofflaw companies to endanger the public.
Meanwhile, state tort law offers ordinary citizens a critical avenue to seek compensation for their injuries. The application of state tort law standards can lead to the demand for greater care by individuals and corporations in the actions they take and the products they produce while promoting greater responsiveness to the public.
When drone crashes involve faulty parts or poor manufacturing practices, victims and their families should be allowed to seek justice in the most effective ways possible. Many aircraft manufacturers are eager to avoid the accountability mechanisms that the civil justice system affords. Accordingly, they have attempted to use pending cases to argue that relevant federal regulations serve to preempt state tort law, thereby blocking individuals who have been injured by defective aircraft or their parts from pursuing their products liability claims in court.
For these manufacturers, this result is desirable because the applicable federal regulations tend to impose comparatively smaller compliance costs due to their relatively weak requirements and because resource-strapped federal agencies engage in haphazard enforcement.
It’s important for policymakers to find ways to preserve the role of state tort law in promoting drone safety. When permitted to function effectively, the civil justice system complements and reinforces the FAA’s work in developing drone safety in several meaningful ways.
At Robes Law Group, we understand how serious a drone injury can be. We are committed to providing you with comprehensive legal support and advocacy. We’ll work hard to determine who may be held responsible for the accident and to see to it that you get the full and fair compensation you deserve. For a consultation call us at (561) 570-5700 or use button below to schedule a free consultation.
The information contained in this blog is merely for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice.