Morgan Gaynor | March 23, 2021 | Florida LAw
Car accidents can cause quite a bit of damage to a vehicle. Even a minor car crash can cause dents, scrapes, and broken or cracked windows and windshields. A crack in your windshield can quickly spread and cause your entire windshield to shatter.
Road debris and flying rocks can also crack or chip a windshield. If cracks obstruct your visibility, you could receive a traffic ticket.
There is a quick and easy way to remedy the situation: windshield replacement. This repair is free according to Florida insurance law.
Deductibles for Windshield Replacement Do Not Apply for Comprehensive Coverage
Under Florida Statute Title 37 Chapter 627.7288, your insurance company cannot charge you a deductible for repairing or replacing a windshield if you have comprehensive coverage or combined additional coverage. You can have your windshield replaced or repaired free of charge.
Driving with a cracked or damaged windshield could increase your risk of being involved in a car accident if it impacts your visibility. A damaged windshield could also cause an injury if it suddenly shatters while you are driving.
Since you can get the windshield replaced or repaired for free, it is best to take care of the matter as soon as possible.
Could I Be Liable For An Accident if I Have A Cracked Windshield?
Florida follows the law of comparative fault for accidents where multiple persons are to blame for a crash. On the one hand, this law allows you to sue for damages even if you are up to 99% at fault for your accident. On the other, it requires juries to reduce your damages by your percentage of fault.
Driving with a cracked windshield could increase your liability for a crash. Even if you were not at fault, the insurance company may claim your cracked windshield impaired your vision and contributed to the accident. This could decrease the amount of compensation they owe you for your injuries. So, it’s important to take advantage of Florida’s free windshield repair rule.
Vehicle Condition and Car Accidents
Many factors can lead to a car accident.
Common factors that may lead to a traffic accident include:
- Distracted driving
- Following too closely
- Impaired driving
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Drowsy driving
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Road rage and aggressive driving
- Violating traffic laws
However, some factors that lead to car accidents do not involve driver error. For example, a defective tire could cause a blowout, resulting in an accident. Defective brake pads could cause a rear-end accident.
The condition of a vehicle could also be a factor in the cause of a traffic accident. Poorly maintained vehicles can increase the risk of a car accident.
Examples of poor maintenance that could lead to a car wreck include:
- Worn tires with minimal tread
- Failing to replace worn windshield wipers
- Cracked or damaged windshields
- Damaged or missing rearview mirrors or side mirrors
- Failing to check and change worn brake pads
If a person fails to maintain their vehicle and they cause a traffic accident, that person could be liable for damages caused by the accident.
Filing a No-Fault Car Accident Claim in Florida
The injuries sustained in a car accident have a direct impact on the value of the damages. Traumatic injuries and permanent impairments increase the value of a personal injury claim.
Florida is a no-fault state for car accident claims. All drivers are required to have a minimum amount of no-fault insurance (PIP insurance). If you are involved in a car accident, you must file a claim with your insurance company.
However, no-fault insurance does not reimburse you for all of your damages. Therefore, if your injuries meet the serious injury threshold for car accident claims, it is wise to consult with a car accident lawyer about filing a claim against the other driver.
Damages Paid for a Florida Car Accident Claim
If your injuries meet the serious injury threshold, the other driver may be financially liable for your damages. You must prove that the other driver caused the crash to recover money for your claim.
By filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver, you could receive compensation for:
- Medical bills and expenses not paid by no-fault insurance coverage
- All loss of salaries, benefits, wages, and other income
- Decreases in future earning potential
- Cost of personal care and long-term care
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Mental trauma, emotional distress, and physical pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life or enjoyment of life
The amount of money you receive for your injury claim depends on the facts of your case. For example, if you are partially to blame for the cause of the auto accident, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer or Work with the Insurance Company?
You are not required to hire a car accident lawyer to file an insurance claim for a car accident. However, most accident victims benefit from hiring a lawyer.
Insurance companies have one goal – to pay as little as possible to settle your claim. Unless you understand personal injury laws, insurance laws, and how to value damages, you could receive far less than your claim is worth.
Accepting a settlement offer and signing a settling agreement ends your case. The agreement releases all parties from any further liability for your claim. Before you give up your legal right to pursue more money for your injuries, you might want to talk with a lawyer to ensure the insurance company’s settlement offer is fair.