The glass of a car plays an important role in automobile safety. Not only does it provide necessary visibility for the driver, it also provides strength and stability to the vehicle itself. The windshield and other windows are protective barriers for the driver and passengers, as well as reinforcement for the roof of the vehicle.
If the glass in an automobile is defective or if it is not installed correctly, it can shatter or pop out during a collision, compromising the structural integrity and safety of the vehicle. Unfortunately, when this occurs, drivers and passengers can be very seriously injured.
Types of Auto Glass Defects
A variety of defects in auto glass itself and in its installation can put drivers and their passengers at risk of injury. The following are a few of the most common auto glass issues:
Low-quality glass can shatter easily upon impact, leaving drivers and passengers vulnerable to being ejected from a vehicle and seriously injured. In contrast, laminated glass is designed to resist shattering and thereby potentially prevent serious injuries in a bad accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) now requires strong, laminated windshields to help keep occupants safer inside a car, especially in case of a rollover. However, older cars may still have unsafe glass installed.
In addition, some automobile manufacturers continue to use less effective products in side windows and sunroofs. This lower quality glass can shatter during collisions, injuring drivers and passengers and leaving them susceptible to head injuries and partial or complete ejection from the vehicle.
Substandard Laminated Glass
Laminated glass is designed to remain in one piece during impact, perhaps cracking but not shattering. This is because it is created by bonding multiple layers of glass together with a resin called polyvinyl butyral (PVB) that helps keep the glass from breaking apart easily.
Before shattering, laminated glass will bend and flex. However, if the materials or manufacturing process is substandard, defective auto glass may result. Instead of bending and flexing during a collision, this substandard, unsafe glass could break apart and leave automobile occupants vulnerable to serious injuries.
Proper installation of auto glass is also important to the safety of the vehicle. Specific procedures must be followed to prepare the substrate to which the glass adheres and to seat the glass correctly.
If these procedures are not completely followed, the auto glass could pop out during a collision, potentially exposing the automobile’s occupants to very serious injury. An automobile’s windshield, in particular, adds strength and stability to the vehicle’s structure that increases its safety and protects the drivers and passengers.
Common Injuries Associated with Auto Glass Defects
Injuries associated with auto glass defects can be very serious, depending on the nature of the defect and the seriousness of the accident. Lacerations are very common, but more significant injuries related to defective auto glass include:
- Spinal injuries
- Brain injuries
- Intestinal injuries
- Internal bleeding
In addition to the physical injuries listed, victims of defective auto glass may suffer severe emotional trauma, including long-lasting postsecondary traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Getting Help from a Defective Auto Glass Attorney
If you or a family member has suffered an automobile injury involving defective auto glass, it is important to identify the parties responsible for the injury. Automobile manufacturers choose and install the type of glass used in their vehicles, so if they have chosen to use inferior materials, installed defective glass, or improperly installed the auto glass, they should be held accountable for resulting injuries.
Working with a Florida personal injury attorney with successful experience in product liability and auto glass cases is crucial in helping you obtain compensation for your physical and emotional suffering. In addition to obtaining compensatory damages, it may be possible to get punitive damages, which hold the responsible party accountable and discourage future negligence.
Call the trusted, proven personal injury attorneys of Paul Knopf Bigger to learn more about how we can help you.