Drivers not liable for ice damage - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

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Drivers not liable for ice damage

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You've seen it before, and it may have happened to you. Ice goes flying off a car on the road and smashes into another vehicle.

Is that driver liable for the damage caused by flying ice?

Channel 4 employee Micca Terrell is breathing a sigh of relief she wasn't carrying her precious cargo this morning, her daughter Zoe.

"It scared the ever-livin' lovin' out of me," said Terrell. "I was worried it would come on through and just take me out."

Terrell was driving on Highway 12 in Ashland City when a sheet of ice flew off the car in front of her and smashed her windshield.

"You would've screamed," Terrell laughed, talking to Zoe. "I probably did. I probably don't remember it." 

Now left with hundreds of dollars in damages, Terrell's left wondering if the other driver is liable.

Todd Binkley of Erie Insurance said he sees this all the time, especially during winter weather weeks. He said ice flying off a car isn't considered negligence.

"It's weather-related," said Binkley. "That person is not liable. Hopefully you have comprehensive coverage because that will cover it."

Binkley said comprehensive coverage is particularly important during winter as it covers anything falling from the air, including branches and ice.

He said a liability has to be an issue of negligence, like a gravel truck traveling without a tarp.

"Let's say if that driver did not have that tarp, and he's driving down I-65 and taking out windshields, yeah, insurance companies are probably going to go after that trucking company," said Binkley.

While they're not liable for damages, Terrell said she hopes other drivers scrape ice off their cars for safety.

"You don't know about the person beside you or behind you that could get hit," said Terrell. "It could've gotten really bad."

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