Tow trucks provide a valuable service to disabled vehicles. When you’re stranded on the side of the road, an approaching tow truck is a welcome sight. Few people stop to think: What happens if a tow truck damages my vehicle?
If you’ve hired a reputable tow truck company, chances are that everything will go smoothly. You can usually trust that your car will be safely towed where it needs to go without suffering damage. But just like every industry, there are unavoidably a few negligent operators who don’t treat each task with the care and attention it deserves. If you’ve been the victim of tow truck negligence, your car may have suffered the consequences.
Let’s look at what you should do if a tow truck damages your car.
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What Happens if Your Car Is Damaged While Being Towed?
If your car was damaged to the point that it requires repair, you are likely looking at hefty expenses. In a scenario like this, it’s important to determine if tow truck company negligence, carelessness, or unprofessionalism was the cause of your vehicle damage.
If the tow truck company—through the improper actions of one or more of its employees—caused the damage, they should be held responsible. You may need to work with a Chicago car accident lawyer who is experienced in practicing Illinois personal injury law to discuss how negligence can be proven.
There are a few options for recovering compensation if a tow truck damages your car. In many cases, an upstanding tow truck company will recognize their error and willingly cover the costs. Be sure to work with an auto mechanic you trust to ensure that repairs are made properly and at a reasonable price. If you feel that the tow truck company is undervaluing the damage, you may need to speak with a lawyer before agreeing to the company’s offer.
You should also check with your insurance company right away to see if your policy covers the damage. In many cases, a collision coverage policy will cover damages caused by a tow truck company.
If there are disputes with the insurance company, if the damages are especially costly, if your vehicle is highly valued, or if the tow truck company refuses to admit wrongdoing, stronger legal action may be necessary. Working with an experienced attorney is usually the best way to recover financially.
Who Is Responsible if a Tow Truck Damages My Car?
If the negligent actions of a tow truck company employee directly caused your car damage, it is likely that the company or employee is responsible. This usually happens when a tow truck employee:
- Uses the wrong equipment
- Uses equipment improperly
- Positions a winch hook incorrectly
- Uses poorly-maintained or defective equipment
- Miscalculates the size and weight of the vehicles
- Drives recklessly while towing a vehicle
- Misjudges turns or clearance while towing a car
- Drifts into an adjacent lane and causes an accident
- Causes a vehicle to collide with a moving or stationary object while towing it
Just like any type of vehicle accident, documenting evidence is key. As soon as you discover the damage to your vehicle, take photographs. Try to include multiple angles to provide a full picture of the issues. Keep any documentation provided by the towing company. Ask for employee names and record this information carefully. If an auto mechanic assessed your vehicle, be sure to retain their report. All of this evidence can be submitted along with an insurance or legal claim to prove your account of what happened.
What Damage Can Happen From Towing a Car?
Can a car really be damaged from towing? On rare occasions, yes, a vehicle can sustain damage from the services provided by a towing company. It usually happens when a driver makes an error.
Bumper damage is one of the most common types of damage caused by a tow truck. If the tow truck operator doesn’t position the winch hook correctly, front or rear bumper damage can result. Tow truck drivers also need to consider the material of the bumper. Plastic and metal bumpers, for example, should be handled differently from one another.
Transmission damage is another common type of towing-caused damage. If a vehicle’s tires are resting on the ground while being towed, the transmission can be damaged, especially if the car is left in Drive gear. Rear towing with the front wheels on the road can also cause the trans-axle to hit the ground and sustain damage.
Other types of vehicle damage that can happen while your car is being towed include:
- Deflated tires
- Windshield damage
- Body dents
- Alignment issues
- Scratches to the interior
What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need to Sue a Towing Company?
If you or someone you love experienced serious injuries as a result of the tow truck, our law firm may be able to help. An experienced lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can skillfully navigate cases that may be too complicated or unusual for other law firms. Please note that we can only help if someone was seriously injured, however. Call or submit a no-obligation contact form on our website to begin a conversation with us.