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If a sheet of ice off another car hits mine, who’s responsible for the damages?

Ken Little

Wanda Copley, New Hanover County attorney, offered this opinion:

“I think that this would be considered unavoidable because of weather, similar to if you were on I-40 and a rock bounces off another car and hits your windshield, causing a crack. Therefore, you could not hold the other driver liable.”

An attorney retained by a client to seek damages from another driver may view the scenario differently.

Tiffany Allen, New Hanover County risk manager, offers a different take on the matter:

“The owner of the vehicle could be held liable for not clearing the ice from their vehicle. The potential problem I see with this type of claim is proving that a particular vehicle caused the damage,” Allen said. “For example, if the vehicle owner (of the iced vehicle) didn’t stop when the accident occurred and there were no witnesses, then the insurance adjuster would not have the verification he or she needs to authorize payment.”

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5 Responses to “ If a sheet of ice off another car hits mine, who’s responsible for the damages?”

  1. On January 15, 2011 at 11:28 pm Bill wrote:

    Wanda Copley’s opinion is laughable. There is a big difference between highway debris bouncing off another car and hitting yours and having debris come directly off another vehicle. The person who left the snow/ice on their vehicle should be directly liable. You are responsible for any articles/debris that comes off your vehicle. Just because it is snow/ice does not matter. In fact in northern states where it snows more often it is illegal to drive your vehicle without first clearing all snow/ice from the vehicle.
    I wish people would stick to facts instead of offering their opinions when a legal question is asked.

  2. On January 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm george wrote:

    not only that, if your veh. is damaged it could mean also that you are following too close. how about that?

  3. On January 16, 2011 at 4:25 pm glsharpe wrote:

    Flying Ice would be considered under the Comprehensive coverage of the damaged car’s insurance.

  4. On January 16, 2011 at 11:44 pm Brian wrote:

    I had a similar incident on I-95, where an airborne aluminum ladder took out my car’s windshield. Since the object was airborne, my comprehensive coverage paid for the repairs.

  5. On January 21, 2011 at 9:27 am Joseph Holland wrote:

    George, you are very cynical in your response. You have no idea how close a car has to be before a flying sheet of ice will impact your vehicle(key word: flying). I have been five or six car lengths behind and had a bouncing rock hit my my windshield, so it is very plausible. The bottom line is that if it came from your vehicle, you are responsible.

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