And in more severe cases, they can cause serious injury when not operated with care. Here are five of the worst of those cases:
- Child Loses an Eye: The absolute worst case, and one that occurred last year in Worcestershire, England. An 18-month-old lost an eyeball after it was sliced in half when a neighbor lost control of his drone. The man was allegedly an experienced drone operator, but crashed the drone after it clipped a tree. “I look at the drones in the garage,” he said later, “and I feel physically sick.”
- Photographer Loses (Part of) a Nose: A TGI Friday’s promotional “Mobile Mistletoe” drone severed the tip of a news photographer’s nose. Really. “It literally chipped off a tip of my nose,” Courier photographer Georgine Benvenuto. “It took off part of my nose and cut me here, right under my chin.”
- A Triathlete Loses a Race: An Australian triathlete was meters from the finish line when she was downed by videographer’s crashing drone. Fortunately, she suffered only minor head injuries. The operator had a familiar defense: he was hacked, by someone in the crowd.
- A Groom Loses the Moment: “I did practice a lot, probably not enough.” Not the words you probably want to hear from your wedding photographer after he flies a 3-lb quad copter into your face. While this happened at a bridal shoot prior to the ceremony, the groom was probably still wearing the cuts to his check and head at the wedding two days later.
- The Bulls Lose to a Drone: When Virginia decides to host its own version of The Running of the Bulls at a racetrack in Richmond, you don’t expect the bulk of the injuries to come from a drone filming the event. But one crashing drone took out 5 of the 700 runners out for the event. Better to be hit by a drone than a 16,000-lb horned animal.
While the FAA is still sorting out its drone regulations, negligent drone operators could be held liable for any injuries they cause. If a drone has injured you or a loved one, you may want to contact an experienced personal injury attorney near you.