What is your liability if your broken windshield has caused damage to another car? Let’s consider a hypothetical accident.
You have had a crack in your windshield for months and you’ve been putting off repairing it. One day, you are driving along, and some debris from the road flies up and hits your windshield. Because your windshield is already cracked, your windshield shatters. Even worse, your shattered windshield causes an accident, damaging the car next to you and injuring the driver. Although this scenario may seem unlikely, it can and does happen more than you can imagine on our roadways. In this situation, who is liable?
No-Fault Insurance in Florida
Florida has no-fault insurance laws. This means that the individual whose car was damaged or who sustained injuries in an accident will first look to their own insurance policies. Their collision coverage will cover any damage to their car and their PIP will cover any personal injury expenses.
But in cases of negligence, the other driver could hold you liable if they have sustained serious injuries and damages. As a driver, you are responsible for any damages caused by your negligent actions. If the other driver can prove that you acted negligently, they can seek compensation from your liability coverage, or they can bring a civil lawsuit against you personally to seek compensation.
For a free legal consultation, call (561) 995-1966
But Is My Broken Windshield Considered Negligence?
When you have not repaired a damaged windshield, it could be considered negligence, particularly if it was the primary cause of an accident. When you continue driving with a damaged windshield, you are setting yourself up not only for a lawsuit, but also for a serious accident and injuries to yourself and others.
A cracked, chipped, or otherwise damaged windshield can be hazardous and can result in
- Visibility obstruction – Cracks, chips, or other damage in your direct line of sight can obstruct your ability to see what is in front of you, especially in low-light settings or inclement weather. Cracks have a way of reflecting light differently, potentially causing glare.
- Structural integrity loss – One of the most important functions of a windshield is structural integrity. The design and proper installation of a windshield lend structural strength to the roof of your car. A cracked or damaged windshield can weaken the strength of the entire roof system of the car and can potentially cause the roof to collapse in a rollover accident.
- Ineffective deployment of airbags – Your car’s windshield system works in tandem with the mechanics of your airbag system, potentially rendering them useless in the case of an accident.
- Inability to tolerate impact – A cracked, or damaged windshield may not be able to tolerate any impact in an accident, which leaves occupants exposed and at risk of serious injuries.
- Shattered glass – While windshield glass is designed to hold together if it is broken, windshields that are already damaged may shatter in an accident and result in injuries to those inside the car.
So if you have a cracked or damaged windshield, you not only put your own safety at risk, but you put others at risk if it results in an accident.
Florida Windshield Replacement Law
Fortunately, for these important safety reasons, the Florida windshield replacement law was enacted to help drivers get immediate windshield repairs at no cost to them.
Consequently, if you have comprehensive insurance coverage, you can get your windshield repaired without even having to pay a deductible. There is no reason to drive with a damaged windshield in Florida if you have comprehensive insurance coverage.
If you have questions about your liability for damages under the law or you have been injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, the Boca Raton windshield damage lawyers at Ged Lawyers, LLP can help. Call us at (561) 995-1966 or contact us online to schedule a no-cost appointment.