The short answer is yes. The laws around the use and restrictions of use for drones in Pennsylvania are still emerging. The popularity and use of drones in surveillance have dramatically increased in the last couple years and lawmakers are scrambling to keep up. Several Pennsylvania law makers have proposed tighter regulations around the use of drones in Pennsylvania to address Fourth Amendment privacy concerns. A recent Federal ruling has allowed the use of drones for commercial use and the FAA has setup new registration requirements. Some of the FAA operating restrictions are that a drone cannot fly higher than 400 feet due to airplane traffic and the drone must be in the visual site of the operator. What does all this mean for my Pa Workers’ Comp Case?
Simply put the use of drones to get surveillance video is allowed. However, I doubt it will be utilized as a primary way to get video surveillance on an injured worker. There are problems with the use of drones; they are loud, the battery life for flight time is short and the angle of the video is not good. This is all contrary to what private investigators want. They don’t want to let the injured worker know they are watching and they often sit for hours to get minutes of video. Most likely the use of drones will be for pre-surveillance activities; to see over fences or in rural areas where homes are far off the road to determine in the injured worker is at home; or if their vehicle is on the property. Then setup their surveillance cameras based on the information obtained from the drone video. Surveillance is a part of the Employer’s arsenal in a Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation case and drones may become a regular part of it. As with all surveillance techniques, as long as the injured worker is staying within their treating physician’s work restrictions they shouldn’t worry.
If you are on Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation and you think you are being watched by the insurance company. Call the team at Calhoon and Kaminsky P.C., for a free case evaluation, 717-695-4722.