VERIFY: Does A 'Not Responsible For Broken Windshields' Sign Work?

Verify: Broken Windshields Pt.2

You’ve seen them on trucks as they drive around town, a sign saying “Stay Back, Not responsible for broken windshields.”

But is that true? Does the sign relieve the truck driver, or company, from any responsibility if your windshield breaks from something that falls from their truck?

The simple answer is, false. Just because there's a sign, it doesn't let the trucking company off the hook, but it still may not be something you want to pursue.

"So the rock first made contact right here in the bottom of it," said Jeremy Driscoll.

He’s a pro at fixing chipped, cracked, and broken windshields.

"It looks like the rock just hit right up in this top corner, and the thing about this is if you turn it around, from the inside, you would never see that,” said Driscoll as she showed us a few broken pieces of glass.

His company, JRD Windshield Repair and Replacement has fixed hundreds of pieces of glass, damaged while on the road.

"It's usually a rock from the road, or a rock off of a dump truck,” said Driscoll.

So if that’s the case, can one of those “Stay Back” signs, leave you paying for any damage?

"A sign would not be a contract that would prevent a motorist from presenting a claim for damages against a trucking company, legally speaking, at best they can say the sign was a warning,” said Attorney Brad Bonilla.

But is it a legal road you would want to drive down?

"I think this is a very common incident of people driving down the road, getting something dinged by a passing truck, car, whatever the situation may be,” said Bonilla.

Bonilla said you need some important information before you could file a lawsuit, or a claim asking for their insurance to pay.

"You're going to have to be able to identify that truck, that truck driver, kind of get information about the who what when where how, so you can make a claim against the company,” said Bonilla. "You've got to know who you're suing, you can't just say hey my car was hit I want to sue somebody.” 

If you can, he suggests getting a license plate number, DOT number, description of driver, description of road, and note the date, time, and location.

He also said even if you take it to court, you can only get the cost of the damage to your vehicle, not attorney fees.

And, even then, the ruling could be against you.

"The motorist assumes some risk if they follow too closely behind one of these big trucks carrying a load of rocks,” said Bonilla.

But, Bonilla said drivers do have a responsibility to attempt to keep you safe.

"In Texas, the truck driver has a very high duty of care,” said Bonilla.

He said the load is required to be secure and not over filled, and they’re required to wash off the vehicle to prevent loose dirt or rocks from flying at other drivers.

So KVUE verified these signs are false, but still may be a warning to stay back.

"It's kind of scary to think that the only thing standing between you and a rock coming at you at very high velocity, or something bigger than a rock, is just a half inch thick piece of glass,” said Driscoll.

A local insurance agent said this is one of the most common claims they get -- a rock damaging a windshield.

If it happens to you, he said they need evidence --- typically an estimate from a repair shop or a photo.

But he said it's important to note --- drivers must have coverage on their vehicle separate from collision insurance.

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© 2017 KVUE-TV


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