What to do if someone broke my windshield on purpose?

UPDATED: Dec 22, 2013

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Dec 22, 2013Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if someone broke my windshield on purpose?

I was 4-wheeling with a group in the desert. The young man in front of me was traveling down hill in a rough section and for whatever reason (I thought he did it purposely because he applied the brake and gas at the same time), he spun his rear tires violently and sprayed my truck with rocks like shrapnel which cracked my windshield and dented my hood. We were stopped at the time and I was at a back a good distance, about 50-60 feet back. He also hit the jeep behind, about a 100 feet back. Others in the party were very surprised at his actions pointing out that he was spinning his tires. I got his insurance information. Is he liable for my windshield replacement?

Asked on December 22, 2013 under Accident Law, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The individual who broke your windshield and dented the hood of your four wheeler is liable for the damage.  Since you have his insurance information, file a property damage claim with his insurance carrier.   Your property damage claim would be the cost of repairs to your vehicle.

It may be difficult to prove that this individual intentionally damaged your vehicle.  If you were able to prove that, you could sue him for trespass to chattel which is the intentional damaging of the personal property of another without consent or legal privilege.  Your damages (the amount of compensation you would be seeking in your lawsuit) would be the cost of repairs to your vehicle.

Since it is difficult to prove intent and since the cost of repairs to your vehicle would be the same damages you would have claimed in your property damage claim mentioned above filed with his insurance company, it is not worth pursuing a lawsuit for trespass to chattel under these circumstances. 

Your property damage claim filed with the insurance company is based on negligence which is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable driver would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  Negligence is much easier to prove than that he intended to damage your vehicle.  Also, if you claim that the other driver acted intentionally, his insurance company might deny the claim because auto accident claims are based on negligence. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption