Are Florida Businesses Required to Install Hurricane Proof Windows?
Over the last few years, Florida has been ravaged by a series of devastating hurricanes. Knowing that the state is at risk of this type of natural disaster, as well as flooding and severe storms, many people choose to install hurricane proof windows that are impact proof, shatterproof, and reinforced to protect occupants in their homes and businesses. In fact, in certain cities, businesses are actually required to purchase and install hurricane proof windows in their establishments.
Whether a business is located in an area where this requirement exists is important because visitors who are injured as a result of a property owner’s failure to install these types of windows could be held liable for resulting injuries. If you were injured during a hurricane because a property owner failed to install hurricane proof windows in their building, you should consider speaking with an experienced premises liability attorney who can explain your legal options.
What are Hurricane Proof Windows?
Hurricane proof windows are specially adapted to help ensure that debris does not break through glass in the event of a severe storm. Also known as hurricane-resistant or storm-proof windows, these products are made of impact-resistant material that contains a layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) between two slabs of glass. Like any other type of product, hurricane proof windows range in effectiveness. For instance, the most effective kind of impact-resistant window is known as an inner-membrane window, which shatters upon impact, but remains attached to the inner membrane and the window frame. A less expensive and less effective option is shatter-resistant film, which can be placed over window glass and will help prevent shattering.
Where are Hurricane Proof Windows Required?
There are a number of window treatments available to those who live in areas that are at risk of hurricanes and tornadoes. Although installing these protective windows isn’t required everywhere in the state, it is mandatory in certain areas, such as cities in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, which are buffeted by higher velocity winds. In other areas, local ordinances and building codes ask that businesses use reinforced glass or impact windows, but do not require it. However, even in these locations, many insurance companies require businesses to install these types of windows before they will grant coverage.
Property Owner Duty of Care
Business owners are required to keep their premises reasonably maintained and to warn visitors of any hazards that cannot be repaired. When property owners don’t fulfill this duty by failing to install hurricane proof windows as required by law, they can be held liable for damages compensating victims for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. This is an important step for victims, as injuries caused by shattered glass tend to be particularly severe and can even be deadly.
Contact a Premises Liability Attorney for Assistance
For help determining whether you have a valid premises liability claim against a business, hotel, or apartment building where you were injured during a hurricane, please call Boone & Davis in Fort Lauderdale at 954-566-9919 today.