Peter Catania | June 27, 2021 | Florida Law
A damaged windshield can happen without warning. For example, you may be driving down the road, and a rock flies into your windshield. Depending on the size of the rock and how it hits the windshield, it could cause a minor crack or chip. Likewise, your windshield could be damaged because of a storm or an object hitting the glass.
While a minor crack or chip may not seem serious, it could turn into a massive spider web of cracks across the windshield. A crack or chip could decrease the windshield’s integrity, causing it to shatter while you are driving.
It is best to have the windshield repaired or replaced as soon as possible. However, the cost of a windshield replacement or repair can be expensive. Fortunately, you might not need to worry about that.
Windshield Repairs are Free for Many Florida Drivers
Depending on the type of car insurance you have, your windshield repair may be free. Under Florida Statute §627.7288, if you have comprehensive car insurance coverage or combined additional coverage, your windshield is covered.
It is in the best interest of the public for motor vehicles to have safe windshields. The chance of a car accident is high when a windshield suddenly breaks. Therefore, requiring insurance companies to pay to repair broken and cracked windshields helps reduce car, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, and bicycle accidents.
Most repair shops in Florida are aware of the statute regarding windshield repairs. However, if you have questions about a damaged windshield, you can contact your insurance company.
Maintaining Your Vehicle Can Reduce the Risk of a Car Crash
A well-maintained vehicle is less likely to malfunction and contribute to the cause of an accident.
Ordinary repairs and maintenance that many drivers overlook which could lead to a car wreck include, but are not limited to:
- Replacing worn tires
- Changing burnt-out lights
- Replacing worn windshield wipers
- Having the brakes checked and maintained
- Replacing worn-out brake pads
- Failing to schedule repairs for defective parts or systems
The vehicle’s manufacturer generally includes a maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual. However, it is the owner’s responsibility to see that repairs are made when they are necessary. Depending on how the vehicle is used, you may need to replace some parts and schedule maintenance sooner than the owner’s manual recommends.
Who is Responsible for Damages Caused by an Accident Related to Poor Maintenance?
As with other car accident cases, the driver who caused the car accident can be financially liable for any damages caused by the crash. Therefore, if a driver failed to replace worn tires and a tire blew out, leading to a crash, that driver could be liable for any damages sustained by other parties.
However, if the tire blew out because it was defective, the tire manufacturer may be liable or share liability for damages. The same would be true with other parts and systems on the vehicle.
Therefore, it is always best to have a car accident attorney conduct a thorough accident investigation to determine all factors that contributed to the cause of the car crash. Each party who was responsible for any of those factors can be held liable. Identifying all liable parties for a car accident increases the chance that you recover maximum compensation for your personal injury claim.
Filing a Florida Car Accident Claim
Since Florida is a no-fault car insurance state, your first claim will be to your PIP insurance provider. However, if you sustain serious injuries, you may have a claim against the at-fault driver for damages. Likewise, if a defective product caused the crash, you could have a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
PIP insurance only pays for a portion of your medical expenses and lost wages. However, by filing a personal injury claim, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- The total cost of medical treatment and care
- All losses of income and benefits, including decreased future earning potential
- The total cost of personal care and help with household chores
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Pain and suffering damages caused by emotional distress, mental trauma, and physical injuries
- Loss of enjoyment of life and decreased quality of life
The facts of your case determine how much your personal injury claim is worth. If you are unsure how much your claim is worth, do not agree to a settlement offer from the insurance company. You could be receiving a much lower settlement amount.
Check with a car accident lawyer before signing any documents or agreeing to a written or recorded statement. Seeking legal advice may mean much more money for your injury claim.