Compensation for Injuries from Windshield Defects

Although it may seem like a vehicle’s windshield and surrounding windows are just a standard feature‚ simply there to keep its occupants comfortable without being subjected to wind‚ excessive heat‚ or excessive cold‚ a vehicle’s windows are actually an important safety feature‚ even if they aren’t advertised as such. They help hold the structure of the vehicle together‚ maintain the rigidity of the roof‚ keep occupants in the vehicle‚ and protect occupants from exterior elements. If there are flaws in windshield and/or window strength‚ the risk of serious injury in a car crash increases‚ as well as the risk of vehicle ejection.

What is Automotive Glass?

The glass used as the windows and windshield of a vehicle is not the same type of class that is used in the windows of your house. Car windows must have the strength to withstand opposing forces during driving‚ including turns‚ as well as vehicle stress caused by potholes‚ uneven road surfaces‚ and inclement weather. They must also be strong enough to maintain their structural integrity in most vehicle accidents‚ especially rollovers. To do all this‚ automobile windshields and windows cannot just be glass.

Laminated Glass Windshields

Windshields are the main protection between the occupants of a vehicle and the outside elements. As the largest piece of glass on the vehicle‚ it must be designed with the strength necessary to hold the structure of the vehicle together‚ and keep its occupants inside the vehicle in the event of a crash. For this reason‚ windshields are made with laminated glass. Laminated glass is made by sandwiching a layer of polyvinyl butyral‚ or PVB‚ between two pieces of glass and then sealing them together with pressure rollers and heating. The bonding of the PVB and the glass is what gives windshields the ability to absorb energy during impact‚ resist breaking and being penetrated by objects‚ and also the ability to not fall apart in the event that the glass does break and/or is penetrated. A flaw in a vehicle’s windshield may be deadly in a serious accident.

Tempered Glass Windows

Tempered glass is very different from laminated glass‚ but is just as important for occupant safety. Tempered glass is usually used in the surrounding windows of a vehicle‚ although there has been talk of the benefits of using laminated glass for these as well as the windshield. Tempered glass is made by heating and then quickly cooling the glass to room temperature. This process gives the glass five to 10 times the strength it had originally. This added strength allows the windows to withstand the stress of daily driving‚ but are more easily broken than the laminated glass windshield. Although the tempering process causes the window to break into small‚ dull pieces‚ the open space caused by a broken window may increase the risk of vehicle ejection and roof instability.

Windshields Staying Strong

A vehicle’s windshield and windows are an integral part of occupant safety and thus‚ their strength and crash test performance must be thoroughly analyzed before allowing the vehicle to be marketed to consumers. Inconsistencies and/or errors in the lamination or tempering process can create flaws in window strength that can create a higher risk of injury during a crash. The poor installation of these essential safety features can also increase a vehicle occupant’s chances of serious injury in a motor vehicle accident. At the Jurewitz Law Group Injury & Accident Lawyers‚ our dedicated San Diego auto product liability lawyers are committed to obtaining maximum compensation for California traffic accident victims who have been injured as the result of window and/or windshield manufacturing defects. Contact us today to learn more about exercising your legal rights at (619) 233-5020 or (888) 233-5020.

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