When you entrust your vehicle to a towing company, they have a duty to ensure that it is not damaged while in their custody. If your vehicle suffers damage due to a towing company’s negligent or careless behavior, you have a right to seek compensation to cover the repairs.
Legal Remedies You Could Pursue for a Vehicle Damaged by a Tow Truck
You have multiple legal options if your vehicle was damaged by a tow truck, including the following:
Directly Negotiating Repairs
Some tow truck companies may agree to cover the repair costs. If the tow truck company offers this option, be sure to work with a trusted repair company. If the towing company tries to offer you a lowball settlement, consult a truck aciident attorney before you proceed.
Submit an Insurance Claim
If the towing company does not offer a reasonable repair option, your damages may be covered by your vehicle’s insurance policy. Contact your insurance carrier to find out if your collision insurance covers damages caused by a tow truck.
File a Lawsuit
If the towing company refuses to admit fault or your insurance company does not agree to cover damages, you may need to sue to recover your repair costs. You could sue the towing company for the damages they caused, or you may be able to sue the insurance company if they wrongfully denied your claim.
To determine the best legal option for your case, speak with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area.
Establishing Negligence and Liability After Your Vehicle is Damaged by a Tow Truck
When a tow truck operator damages your car through negligence, you could hold the employee and/or the company liable. For example, circumstances like these could be considered negligence:
- The tow truck operator did not use equipment correctly
- The tow truck operator failed to use the right equipment
- The tow truck equipment was poorly maintained or damaged
- The tow truck operator did not exercise due care while driving
- The tow truck operator failed to put the vehicle in neutral before towing
Exterior damage to your vehicle’s body, bumper, interior, windows, and tires is often easy to spot, but the towing company could also be responsible for damage to your vehicle’s transmission, alignment, and more.
If your car suffered any damage because of reckless or careless handling by a tow truck operator, you could seek compensation for repairs.
Tow Truck Operators Owe a Duty of Care
Towing companies and their employees use specialized tow trucks to move broken, disabled, stuck, or damaged vehicles from various locations. Tow trucks are typically equipped with a crane, hoist, winch, or other equipment that attaches to the vehicle with a hook or line. Once attached, the vehicle is pulled behind the tow truck to the desired location.
Tow truck operators have a duty to keep the vehicle in the best possible condition by:
- Using the correct equipment for your vehicle’s size and weight
- Attaching the vehicle fully to avoid damage
- Driving the tow truck carefully to avoid collisions with other vehicles or objects
If the towing company or their employee fails in their duty of care and your vehicle is damaged as a result, you could recover damages.
Filing a Claim Against a Negligent Towing Company
To file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the towing company or their employee, you must prove they were negligent. Proving negligence involves:
- Establishing the towing company’s duty of care
- Proving that they failed in their duty of care
- Proving that their violation of the duty of care caused damages to your vehicle
- Proving that you suffered losses (such as repair costs) due to these damages
Gathering Evidence to Prove Towing Company or Employee Negligence
Your insurance claim or lawsuit relies on evidence to prove negligence and establish the value of your vehicle damages. Types of evidence you could use to support your claim or lawsuit include:
- Photos of your damaged vehicle
- Videos from traffic cameras, CCTV, or dashcams
- Witness statements from people who observed the damage occurring
- Vehicle diagnostics, repair estimates, invoices, and other documents
A vehicle accident attorney familiar with tow truck damage claims can help you investigate and gather evidence to prove your claim.
Choosing the Right Attorney for Your Tow Truck Damage Claim
Tow truck companies and insurance carriers both have one thing in common: they are businesses that rely on making a profit. Therefore, they may try to reduce or deny a settlement for damages to your vehicle.
An attorney who handles tow truck damage cases knows how to navigate reluctant insurance carriers and stubborn towing companies. While you may have the option to file a claim on your own, an attorney can bring knowledge, experience, and resources to help you seek a higher settlement.
Timing Is Critical for Your Towing Damage Claim
If you attempt to negotiate a settlement for vehicle damage caused by a towing company employee on your own, you could run out of time. Many insurance companies have a time limit within which you must file a claim. Every state also has a statute of limitations for property damage claims. If you miss your state’s legal filing deadline, you could lose the chance to recover damages altogether.
Avoid missing important deadlines by contacting a car accident attorney right away after the accident. In addition to keeping your case on track, your attorney has a better chance of securing evidence before it changes or disappears.
Work With a Skilled Tow Truck Accident Lawyer Near You
Dealing with towing companies and insurance carriers can be stressful, especially if the damage puts your vehicle completely out of commission. A skilled tow truck accident attorney can help you navigate this tricky legal process to negotiate a fair settlement for damages caused by another party’s negligence.
At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, we have extensive experience in dealing with difficult tow truck companies and insurance carriers. Contact us today for a free consultation, so one of our dedicated truck accident lawyers can review your case and help you decide on your next steps.
We Can Help.