With our level of construction and road debris, it is just a matter of time before most of us are confronted with a cracked or broken windshield here in Florida. But driving with a broken windshield can be extremely dangerous and Florida law recognizes this. Consequently, under Florida Statute § 627.7288, the state encourages anyone with the proper insurance to get it repaired as soon as possible without the cost of an insurance deductible.
Why is it Dangerous to Drive With a Broken Windshield?
Although a vehicle’s windshield is designed to be shatter-proof, a windshield will shatter or crack upon impact with an object or a projectile. While it takes a substantial impact to get a car’s windshield to break into pieces, a mere crack can potentially affect not only the windshield’s integrity but also the structural integrity and safety of the car itself.
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The windshield plays a critical role in a vehicle’s engineering. While offering needed visibility to the driver, the windshield also strengthens the roof system of the car and makes it more resistant to crushing upon a rollover or other collision. When a windshield is cracked or broken, that integrity has been significantly diminished, which can put both you and your passengers at risk in an accident.
While some states make it illegal to drive with a cracked windshield, others, like Florida, make it easier for car owners to get it fixed, thereby reducing the risks of accidents and injuries.
No-Cost Windshield Repairs in Florida
If you have comprehensive automobile insurance, you can bring your car to any car repair facility to fix your windshield. This is at no cost to you.
Everyone who owns a registered vehicle in Florida is required to have PIP insurance protection, providing medical and other benefits to the insured if they are injured in a car accident. Comprehensive insurance coverage will repair or replace your car if it is stolen or damaged by something other than a collision. Not everyone has comprehensive coverage, however. If your windshield has been damaged and your car does not have comprehensive coverage, you will be required to get a repair at your own cost.
Are You Limited to Who Can Repair Your Windshield?
Here in Florida, you have the right to go to any repair shop you want to repair your windshield. Many insurance companies work with specific repair shops in their network. If you work with one of these shops, the insurance company has contracted to pay them directly. In other cases, your shop may ask you to sign an assignment of benefits so they can get paid by your insurance company.
When a Damaged Windshield Can Cost You More Than a Repair
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Unfortunately, a cracked or shattered windshield may be a contributing factor in a car accident. If your damaged windshield caused an accident that injured another party, you may be held liable and required to compensate them for their damages. Even if you are only partly to blame, a court can reduce compensation for your injuries under our comparative fault laws if your damaged windshield factored into the accident.
Getting Legal Advice in Florida
If you have been injured in a car accident, you need skilled legal advice to ensure that your rights are being protected. At Ged Lawyers, LLP, our experienced Boca Raton personal injury attorneys have represented victims of wrongful acts and negligence since 1995. If you have been injured in a car accident, call us at (561) 562-4170 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.