Can You Sue If A Drone Flies Overhead?


Drones, or unmanned flying objects often used for surveillance, are a new technology that might have unintended consequences for personal privacy. In fact, Florida recently passed a law that prohibits drones from taking photos or video of people on private property. Other states may follow suit as drones become more widely used.

Why Are Drones Used in the U.S.?

Drones are beginning to be used for all sorts of aerial activities, from surveying construction sites to checking on the condition of roofs to mapping out correct property lines. They can also be used to detect natural resources, to record events like weddings from a different perspective or to aid law enforcement officials with discovering and solving crimes. You may have heard about a recent news item that Amazon is experimenting with drones as efficient package delivery systems.

The bottom line is that drones are brand-new technology and all of their uses are not discovered yet. That makes it more difficult to control or regulate their use, even if it impacts the privacy of other people.

What Can You Do if a Drone Violates Your Privacy?

It may not be that easy to prove that a drone has caused you personal injury of any sort. The surveillance has to be permanent -- that is, the photos or video are stored somewhere -- and you have to be able to prove that it has been stored and where it is located. You may also need to prove that the surveillance was intentionally done to gather information about someone and not, for example, a way to identify natural resources or detect property boundaries.

If a drone has been flying over your property on a regular basis, you can contact a personal injury attorney to discuss whether you have a case and what the next steps might be. However, if you ever feel that you are in danger, contact law enforcement for help rather than waiting to discuss with a lawyer.

Can You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Because of a Drone's Actions?

If a drone is not properly controlled and crashes into you or into your personal property, that's a relatively straightforward personal injury case. You will need to work with your attorney to provide proof of physical injuries and witness accounts.

Proving in court that your privacy has been violated by an overhead drone may be difficult or impossible, but if a drone has been mismanaged and caused you or your property any harm, you may be able to sue. Talk to your personal injury attorney about your specific case to find out whether a lawsuit is a good idea.


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