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Is It Illegal To Shoot Down A Drone Flying Over Your Property?

Drone flying is a hobby that more people are getting into. It’s hard to blame them, given how awesome drones are when they’re zooming through the air and performing spectacular maneuvers. Still, it can be annoying when some people go overboard with their drones. Your neighbor flying drones is one thing, but it’s different when you start to see their drones intruding on your property. It’s easy to understand why you would get annoyed at that point. Before you do anything rash like shooting down your neighbor’s drone, though, you need to learn about the laws related to them. Let’s go in-depth on California’s drone laws and discuss what you can and cannot do if one of them is bothering you. The Different Types of Drones and the Guidelines That Cover Them To get things started, let’s talk about the kinds of drones that you may find flying around your area. Generally speaking, the drones you see in public are either flown for fun or business. Why is it important for you to know what kind of drone you’re dealing with? That distinction matters because they impose specific guidelines on drones that depend on their usage. The Guidelines for Flying Recreational Drones First, let’s discuss the guidelines concerning recreational drones outlined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Registration Is a Requirement Before pilots can take their drone out for a spin, they must first register it. The FAA is in charge of drone registrations. Operators must register their drone under the exception for recreational flyers. Airspace Restrictions Drone owners are not allowed to fly their machines anywhere they want. For instance, there’s a restriction on how high the drones can go. According to the FAA, recreational drones are only allowed to fly at or below 400 feet when they’re in uncontrolled airspace. Flying their drones inside controlled airspace is also a big no-no for drone operators. They are only exempted from that rule if they are flying within FAA-approved controlled airspace locations. Recreational drones are not allowed to fly close to other aircraft, airports, groups of people, stadiums, sporting events, military bases, and emergency sites. Failing to abide by those airspace restrictions can land a drone pilot in plenty of hot water. Safe Drone Flying Safety is a must when it comes to drones. A crashing drone can still cause a lot of damage after all. To help curb instances of drone crashes, the FAA places limitations on how you operate the machines. When it comes to the actual flying, the pilot must always have the drone in their line of sight. The pilot must see their drone using only their eyes or with the help of glasses or contacts. If the pilot needs binoculars to keep track of the drone, then the machine is flying too far. People are also not allowed to fly drones if they’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Safety can be an issue when it comes to drone operation. You must be sober to fly them correctly and responsibly. The Guidelines for Flying Business Drones The rules for operating business drones are a bit different from the ones that govern recreational drones. Operators must note the differences and keep them in mind if they want to avoid getting in trouble. Proper Registration Registration remains a requirement for those operating a business drone. This time around, business drone operators must secure a Remote Pilot Certificate. Part 107 Waiver Exceptions The restrictions placed on where you can fly the drone and how it’s operated remain the same for recreational and business variants. However, those operating business drones can secure a Part 107 Waiver if they want a bit more freedom when it comes to flying. With a Part 107 Waiver secured, drone operators may fly in certain restricted areas. They may also fly the drone above people or from a moving vehicle. A single operator can also fly multiple drones simultaneously if their Part 107 Waiver specifically accounts for that. Securing a Part 107 Waiver may be a necessity for drone operators if they want to get the most out of their machine. Without that waiver, they could run afoul of certain rules. Upcoming Changes to Drone Operation New rules related to drone operation are expected to take effect soon, according to the FAA. Soon, the FAA will issue new guidelines regarding how community-based organizations will be recognized. There’s also a new rule that will require drone operators to pass an aeronautical knowledge and safety exam. Upon passing the exam, the drone operator will receive proof that they passed the test, and they must hold on to that. Make sure you keep those rules in mind as well because they could come in handy when dealing with your neighbor’s drones in the future. What You Should Do if a Drone Is Flying over Your Property A drone flying over your property by mistake one time is understandable. Perhaps your neighbor is still getting the hang of operating their new toy, and they accidentally flew too close to your home. It’s different when that happens all the time, though. You may even start to think that your neighbor is flying over your property on purpose. So, what should you do when faced with such a problem? Let’s discuss the steps you need to take below. Keep Your Cool Seeing your neighbor’s drone constantly crossing into your property can be infuriating. It may tempt you to react forcefully by shooting down their annoying aircraft. We urge you against doing anything that drastic, though. Shooting down your neighbor’s drone can be interpreted as a violation of the Aircraft Sabotage Act. Per the Cornell Law School, violating the Aircraft Sabotage Act could lead to you facing a hefty fine and prison time. Violating that law carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. On top of those penalties, you may need to pay for the drone and any damage it causes as it crashes to the ground. Simply put, shooting a drone […]

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Are Punitive Damages Taxable?

Accidents happen, and while no one desired that outcome, people still need to be responsible for the unfortunate incident. Among the tools at the legal system’s disposal for disciplining negligent parties are punitive damages. Punitive damages are unique in terms of their intended purpose. You must know how to manage them, or else you could be the one who runs into trouble with the law. In this article, we’ll go into the topic of punitive damages and how to handle them from a tax standpoint. Dealing with punitive damages can be complicated, so allow the information featured in this article to help you out. What Are Punitive Damages? Once it’s proven in court that you were involved in a car accident or some other incident you did not cause, They will likely award you some form of compensation. In court cases, they call that compensation damages. You can break damages down into two major categories. First off, you have the compensatory damages. The name should tip you off to what compensatory damages are. They are supposed to offer financial compensation for the losses you incurred due to the accident. The courts classify compensatory damages as either actual or general damages. Actual compensatory damages refer to your quantifiable losses such as your medical expenses, damage done to your property, or paychecks you missed out on due to your injuries. Actual damages are supposed to provide direct and equivalent compensation for those losses. General damages are the opposite, meaning they compensate you for losses that you cannot quantify. Examples of general damages include emotional distress, a decrease in quality of life, and potential job opportunity losses. The different kinds of compensatory damages are with your losses in mind. They are supposed to cover your needs. Punitive damages are different because they are more focused on the guilty party. Courts set punitive damages to punish the guilty party. They are additional penalties handed down to defendants with possible incarceration and other forms of punishment. The courts also set punitive damages because they want to teach the guilty party a lesson. They want to discourage that party in question from engaging in that behavior again. The hope is that the financial blow will get that lesson to stick a bit better. When Are Punitive Damages Awarded? An important thing to note about punitive damages is that they are far from common. Judges will not order them to be included in compensation simply because another party was negligent. For courts to include punitive damages in the financial award handed down to a plaintiff, they must prove that the defendant acted recklessly with malice or deceit. They must also show that the guilty party willingly engaged in the activity that led to the incident in the first place. Judges may also decide to include punitive damages in their ruling if they believe doing so will be an effective deterrent to others in the future. As you can probably guess, there’s a high threshold for setting punitive damages and often isn’t reached. Even so, you must know how to manage them if they include them in your case. Do You Have to Pay Taxes on Punitive Damages You Receive? Now that we know more about punitive damages, it’s time to figure out if they are taxable. The short answer is yes, punitive damages are indeed taxable, according to the IRS. That’s another point of difference between compensatory and punitive damages because some of the former are not taxable. You may be wondering why punitive damages are considered taxable. The IRS has an explanation for that as well. According to the agency, punitive damages are taxable because they consider them as taxable income. Their main goal is not to provide compensation, so they see them as a windfall for the plaintiff. They aren’t similar to lottery winnings per se, but they are on the same wavelength. Are There Cases Where Punitive Damages Are Not Taxable? Most of the time, if you received punitive damages, you would pay taxes on them. That’s the law, and you must abide unless you want to experience some legal troubles yourself. However, there are exceptions to that law, and they mainly come into play in wrongful death cases. Financial compensation in wrongful death cases is sometimes harder to parse through because there are so many elements included. Financial awards for wrongful death cases account for actual and general compensatory damages, and they include punitive damages because the offending party has likely met the conditions for them. The compensatory damages may or may not be taxable. That’s contingent on a few factors that we can discuss in a separate article. But what about the punitive damages? Are they still taxable in this scenario? To find out the answers to those questions, you will need to consult with your state’s laws. In wrongful death cases, the courts usually refer to the state statutes to come up with a ruling. If the state laws indicate that the financial awards provided in wrongful death cases are all punitive damages, they will be exempt from taxation. Seeking out a lawyer familiar with the laws in your area should help you understand the status of the compensation you received. Don’t hesitate to seek out their help if you need more guidance regarding your taxes. What Happens if You Reach a Settlement? Not all cases reach a verdict in court. These matters often double as negotiations, and both sides may decide that settling now is more palatable than potentially spending months or even years tied up in a long legal battle. Settling offers a way for both sides to compromise and put the issue behind them. So, how will opting for a settlement affect your tax situation? That is an interesting question. Determining whether a certain amount is taxable is easy enough if the court decides because the rulings usually indicate which damages are considered compensatory or punitive. The opposing sides don’t need to do that if they were negotiating a settlement. The two sides […]

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What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

The safety of our roads depends on how careful and responsible we are. Sadly, not everyone holds up their end of the bargain, which is why uninsured motorist coverage is a policy you should consider purchasing. We know that the idea of taking on another expense probably doesn’t sound appealing. You may even be wondering if the policy is something you need. To help you better understand what uninsured motorist coverage is for and why you might need it, we’ve put together a comprehensive article that breaks it down neatly. Please feel free to read on and see why an uninsured motorist plan is something that can prove immensely valuable. The Need for Uninsured Motorist Coverage Securing auto insurance is the law. It doesn’t matter where you live; you will need to purchase auto insurance before driving. If the authorities catch you driving without insurance, you could face legal issues. Car insurance is mandated by the law to protect all motorists. After being involved in a car accident, you may find yourself saddled with a mountain of medical bills and enormous debts due to the loss of your ability to work. Several other factors can increase how damaging your losses stemming from the accident are. Unfortunately, there is no way to go back in time to prevent the accident from taking place. The only thing you can do at that point is to hold the offending party responsible for what happened. The other party’s insurance provider should pay for your expenses. But what happens if the other party doesn’t have insurance? You can try to sue the other person and get them to pay that way, but there’s no guarantee they have the money you need. If they did, they would probably have auto insurance in the first place. After realizing that the person who caused the accident has no insurance and no money, you are suddenly facing the worst-case scenario. You may have to shoulder all your losses on your own. No one should ever be in that position, but it’s a possibility you cannot rule out. Preparing for that scenario is also why you need uninsured motorist coverage. Understanding the Importance of Uninsured Motorist Coverage The expectation is that everyone you’re sharing the road with has insurance, but that is not guaranteed. Some people are simply irresponsible, and that sadly puts the people around them in trouble. Uninsured motorist coverage provides that extra level of protection that all drivers can benefit from having. Taking out car insurance protects the people around you, while uninsured motorist coverage shields you from negligent drivers who go on the road. You can feel a bit more relaxed knowing that an accident is not going to put you in a big hole financially. That remains the case even if the other party has no insurance policy. Think of uninsured motorist coverage as a type of policy that shores up a potential blind spot in most auto insurance plans. Many motorists will argue that uninsured motorist coverage is important as your car insurance. The Types of Uninsured Motorist Coverage Now that we can better comprehend the value of uninsured motorist coverage, it’s time to learn what type to get. Your insurance provider will present you with two types of uninsured motorist coverage plans. Let’s talk about them in detail below. Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage The first type of uninsured motorist coverage plan you can purchase focuses on medical expenses. Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage comes into play if you were injured during an accident caused by a driver with no insurance. The total cost of your medical expenses can climb in a hurry depending on the severity of your injuries. You may have a hard time paying for them on your own if you’re too injured to work. There’s no need to worry about that if you have uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage. Aside from your medical bills, this policy accounts for pain and suffering that were byproducts of your involvement in the accident. You should also know that uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage does more than offer you protection. If other people were in the vehicle when the accident took place, your plan would cover their expenses also. Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage The other policy made available to drivers is uninsured motorist property damage coverage. As you’ve probably guessed, this plan acts as a safety net if the guilty party without insurance damages your vehicle. Having no car for an extended time can be inconvenient and quite costly too. Taking out an uninsured motorist coverage plan allows you to get your car repaired quickly and prevents that from affecting your daily routine. How to File a Claim for Your Uninsured Motorist Coverage Following an accident, they urge drivers to immediately perform certain tasks to ensure their safety. Once the driver determines that everyone is safe and that no one has sustained any serious injuries, they are to run through a checklist of things to avoid bigger problems. Examples of things you should do right after the accident include contacting the authorities, gathering evidence, and speaking to the other driver involved. This may also be the time when you find out that the other driver is not insured. Don’t let the driver being uninsured deter you from acting, though. Failing to act correctly at this point lowers the chances of you filing a successful claim with your insurer. Mentioned below are things you must do if you want to file a claim for your uninsured motorist coverage. Collect as Much Information and Evidence as You Can Gathering evidence and information remains incredibly important even if you know that the other driver cannot cover your expenses. Don’t assume that your insurer will take your word for it simply because you are their client. They will still require you to provide evidence before they issue a payout. Collect evidence by taking pictures of the accident scene and talking to witnesses. You should also talk to […]

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California Proposition 213 & What It Means For You

Car accidents can have all kinds of adverse effects on people. Lack of oversight on your part may cause Prop 213 to come into play, however, and that can lead to some real problems. In certain situations, Proposition 213 could be the reason why you find yourself in a big financial hole you’re struggling to climb out of. It may make an already difficult situation even more challenging. So, what is Proposition 213, and does it apply to you? Those are some of the questions we’ll be addressing in this article. What Is Proposition 213? Proposition 213 may be something you’re not familiar with, but it’s been around for a long time. Officially, it’s known in California law as “The Personal Responsibility Act of 1996.” California Prop 213’s stated purposes are as follows. First, it notes that you should not reward uninsured motorists, drunk drivers, and felons for breaking the law. The proposition drew attention to “lawbreakers” recovering damages from law-abiding citizens due to the injuries they sustained because of the crimes they committed prior to the enactment of this law. It also urged residents of California to make changes to the law so the individuals would not recover “unreasonable damages” from law-abiding citizens. Evidently, the appeals to the public worked, and they adopted the proposition. In essence, what Proposition 213 does is reduce the number of damages that an individual can receive if they didn’t have insurance on the vehicle they were driving at the time of the accident that follows the established requirements of the state. The individual in question could still sue to recover certain damages, but there are restrictions placed on what they can ask for. The proposition effectively means that those who are insured can sue for more damages than those who aren’t. When Does Proposition 213 Not Apply? Here’s an important thing to note about prop 213. There’s a pretty good chance you’ll never need to worry about it if you’re always up to date with your insurance payments. If you always make sure that you’re covered by insurance whenever you head out for a drive, the effects of the proposition are not going to have an impact on you. Since you are sufficiently insured, you can sue for everything the law entitles you to following a possible car accident. Proposition 213 also has no effect on passengers involved in car accidents. It doesn’t matter whether the car you were riding in was or not. If you are hurt in the accident, you can file a lawsuit requesting both economic and non-economic damages. We’ll get to what those economic and non-economic damages are a bit later in this article. When Does Proposition 213 Apply? We’ve now established that Prop 213 is nothing you need to worry about if you always have auto insurance and if you’re only a passenger in the vehicle. So, when exactly do you need to worry about the proposition affecting you? It’s something you must keep in mind if you go out driving using an uninsured vehicle. Keep in mind that driving with no insurance is illegal in the state of California anyway. If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of being involved in an accident, the expectation is that you will be exchanging insurance information with your fellow driver. Having no insurance puts the two of you in a more difficult situation, and it’s something Prop 213, and other laws are trying to prevent. What Happens When Proposition 213 Takes Effect? Like we noted earlier, there are restrictions placed on the amount of money you can sue for if Proposition 213 applies to your situation. To be more specific, the law will only permit you to sue for economic damages. Are There Any Exceptions to Proposition 213? Yes, some exceptions could come into play, which nullifies the effects of Prop 213. Let’s discuss them in greater detail below. The Drunk Driver Exception The first exception applies to incidents involving drunk drivers. Let’s say a drunk driver hit you while you were driving uninsured, leading to you getting injured. The law offers some leeway in that scenario. You’re not going to be penalized because of the drunk driver’s negligence. Instead, you will still be allowed to sue for both economic and non-economic damages stemming from the accident. You Have Insurance for a Different Vehicle You are also exempted from the effects of Proposition 213 if you have an auto insurance policy for a different vehicle. It’s possible you were only borrowing a car from your friend because yours was in the shop for repairs. Upon borrowing the car, you also may not have known that it was uninsured. Because you have an insurance policy of your own, the law will still regard you as someone who’s insured. You can still file a lawsuit for all the damages you are entitled to. The Uninsured Vehicle Belongs to Your Employer Proposition 213 also does not apply if the uninsured vehicle you were driving belongs to your employer. Your employer may have some trouble recovering his/her losses, but the law will not get in the way of you receiving fair compensation. Accidents That Occur on Private Property The place where the accident occurred could also determine whether the proposition will apply. If it occurred on private property, then the proposition will likely not take effect. What Are Economic Damages? We’ve been referring to economic and non-economic damages throughout this article. Now is a good time to discuss them in greater detail.Starting with economic damages, they constitute the compensation you can receive from measurable losses. They are also sometimes referred to as specific damages. When we say economic damages, we’re referring to things such as your medical expenses. Those expenses may include the cost of physical therapy. If you must see a specialist due to the mental and/or emotional trauma you sustained because of the accident, they must cover the cost as well. Future medical expenses for the lingering effects of your injuries may also be added […]

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