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What Should You Do if a Tow Truck Damages Your Car?

Published on Sep 16, 2022 at 6:11 pm in Auto Accident.

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.

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 personal injury attorney experienced in practicing car accident 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, after considering all other options, it’s determined that legal action against a tow truck company is necessary, our law firm can help. An experienced lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can skillfully navigate cases that may be too complicated or unusual for other law firms. If a tow truck damages your car, know that you have options. We can work to help recover the compensation you need to repair your vehicle. Someone else’s negligence should not cause your property to lose function and value.

Thomas Law Offices has the kind of experience you need if you’ve come up against a difficult situation involving a tow truck company. Many potential clients expect that a car accident lawyer only deals with incidents involving two cars colliding on the road or highway. But our attorneys have a wider range of experience than most people expect.

Call or submit a no-obligation contact form on our website to begin a conversation with us. We will begin with a free case evaluation. No matter where you are in the process, we’ll listen to your story and help you decide the next steps to take.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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