Iwona Patnaude is suing Safelite Auto Glass Company. Safelite replaced the windshield of her Toyota Tundra 6 years prior and the windshield separated from the vehicle during a rollover accident. The accident that took place December 27, 2011 occurred when the Patnaudes were traveling westbound on I-94 in North Dakota. The driver, Jason Patnaude, lost control of the Toyota Tundra when he began to “slide upon contacting a patch of snow and ice on the roadway”.
Attorneys claimed, “directional control of the subject Tundra was lost and could not be regained”. It was at that time that the Tundra crossed the interstate’s median and rolled across the eastbound lanes and off the road. During the time of the incident, the windshield separated from the vehicle and the roof collapsed in on the family. Both Jason Patnaude and Victoria (their daughter) sustained fatal head wounds and died on scene.
Safelite PR manager Melina Metzger has confirmed that the company did in fact replace the windshield six years ago, but declined any further comment due to the pending litigation. Pantnaude’s attorneys claim that during the accident “the windshield separated from the rest of the vehicle, contributing to the degree of crush sustained by the subject Tundra’s roof structure…The Safelite defendants’ negligent installation of the windshield on the subject Tundra resulted in its failure in the rollover incident”.
Patnaude is seeking a jury trial where she will seek reimbursement for injuries as well as damages in excess of $50,000. She sustained severe nervous shock as well as emotional shock having watched her husband and daughter pass away in front of her. Safelite is not the only defendant in this lawsuit; others include Toyota Motor Corp., Toyota Motor Sales USA, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Indiana, AutoNation USA Corp., Desert Scion/Toyota, Steve Romeo and Lisa Armstrong, as well as Centennial Toyota.
The National Glass Association has some very serious things to say about improper windshield installation and the dangers associated with it. They state, “A cracked or improperly installed windshield is dangerous…you might ask, ‘why is this important to me?’ Well, did you know the windshield of your automobile is a safety device, like air bags and safety belts? It is true. Besides the obvious role of protecting occupants from wind, water and debris, your car’s windshield can help save your life, and the lives of your passengers, by ensuring you are not thrown from the vehicle in a collision. Windshields also play a critical role in the front passenger airbag deployment on many cars. In Addition, the windshield (and rear window) helps support the roof of the vehicle in a rollover so you and your passengers will not be crushed”.
The National Glass Association suggests regular check ups to make sure there is not crucial damage to your windshield going unnoticed. Here are 3 tips that the NGA and AAA suggest for periodically checking on your windshield:
- Check the entire windshield, inside and out, for chips and cracks. Minor chips and very small cracks may be repairable, provided they are outside the driver’s primary line of sight. Any significant cracks or damage will require windshield replacement.
- Check around the edge of the glass for damage to the surrounding bodywork. Any problems that affect the seal of the glass to the body can weaken the structural integrity and should be repaired.
- Check the windshield wipers to make sure the rubber blades are soft and pliable. Hard, brittle or damaged blades can break and allow the metal wiper arm to scratch the glass.
The NGA also stated, “avoid cut-rate Auto Glass Replacement”. NGA and AAA actually stated, “when it comes to Auto Glass Replacement, you get what you pay for”. The lowest bid may not be the best option for your vehicle, for the sake of you and your family. The NGA and AAA suggest you ask the Windshield Replacement and Auto Glass Repair company if they:
- Have NGA (National Glass Association) certified technicians.
- Endorse and adhere to the Auto Glass Repair Safety Standard (AGRSS)
- Use OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) auto glass for auto glass replacements
- Use the manufacturers recommended Urethane Adhesives.
The NGA has much more helpful information regarding why using an NGA certified windshield replacement and auto glass repair shop that endorses the AGRSS and uses OEM auto glass and parts is so critical. If you would like to read more on this subject, the link to this page of their website is https://www.glass.org/press/073107_AAA.htm.