Who pays for my broken windshield?

Q. A gravel truck was driving past the entrance to the freeway when I entered. His wheel threw a rock that hit my windshield. I called, and the company said it was not responsible. Who is at fault and how can I get reimbursed for my windshield?

A. Based on what you say, no one is at fault, and you or your insurance company must pay to have the windshield repaired or replaced. For the company that owns the truck to have any liability, the accident must have been caused by its negligence. That means the driver did not take reasonable steps to protect you against flying rocks. If the truck, or another car, simply hits a rock on the road and flies into your windshield, there is nothing the driver could have done to prevent the problem.

On the other hand, if the truck had an uncovered load of gravel and that is what broke your windshield, the company may be liable. The law requires that such loads be covered to prevent damage to other vehicles. The owner could be considered negligent in caring for the load if it was uncovered, and responsible for your broken windshield caused by the falling gravel.