Motor vehicle collisions that involve tow trucks can occur for many different reasons. In some instances, the operator of the tow truck may be solely responsible for the accident. However, other individuals and entities may potentially share in the responsibility for a tow truck accident.
If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident that involved a tow truck, you may take legal action against the responsible individual or entity. Specifically, you may file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the at-fault person or entity to recover for your accident-related losses.
A knowledgeable Duluth truck accident attorney can assist you throughout the personal injury claims filing process and will do everything possible to help you obtain the maximum amount of compensation available for the injuries that you suffered in your tow truck accident.
Types of Tow Trucks
Tow trucks are used to transport disabled vehicles off the road and take them to a repair shop or demolition facility, depending upon the circumstances. These tow trucks come in all shapes and sizes, and some of the most common types of tow trucks include flatbed tow trucks, boom winch tow trucks, wheel lift tow trucks, and hook and chain tow trucks.
When most people think of a tow truck, they think of a hook-and-chain-type tow truck that is used to transport a motor vehicle that was recently involved in an accident. However, any of these various types of tow trucks can become involved in an accident that causes injuries to someone else. An experienced tow truck accident lawyer can review the circumstances of your accident, including any police report that was filed after the accident and may pursue a claim or lawsuit on your behalf.
Typical Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents That Involve Tow Trucks
Tow truck accidents can occur for a variety of reasons. Whenever a tow truck hauls another motor vehicle, the risk of a motor vehicle collision exists. Some of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents that involve tow trucks include defective equipment, such as defective chains and other mechanisms which are used to secure a vehicle onto the tow truck, pulling a load that is excessive for the tow truck, and tow truck driver negligence.
Accidents that are caused by tow trucks can also result from improper tow truck maintenance or improper road maintenance. Finally, tow truck accidents can result from improper driver training by the tow truck company.
Tow truck drivers and companies are responsible for making sure that all of the mechanical devices on the tow truck, including chains that are used to secure a disabled vehicle, are in the proper working condition at all times. If tow truck equipment malfunctions, the truck’s load can become unsecured and may collide with another motor vehicle on the road, causing a serious accident and injuries.
If the injured accident victim can demonstrate that the tow truck accident occurred because of defective equipment, he or she may file a claim or lawsuit against the tow truck driver, the tow truck company, or the manufacturer of the equipment that malfunctioned and which led to the accident.
Improper loading is another common cause of tow truck accidents. The average tow truck weighs approximately 10,000 pounds, and when the load is not secured to the truck properly, it can disengage and collide with another motor vehicle. This can result in an accident that can lead to serious injuries.
Tow trucks with a heavy load can also prove extremely difficult to maneuver. If a tow truck driver does not carefully operate his or her vehicle, the hauled vehicle may cross the centerline, hitting an oncoming vehicle and resulting in an accident. The same can occur when the tow truck and the attached load can’t negotiate a curve, and the tow truck or the attached vehicle collides with another motor vehicle.
Tow Truck Driver Negligence
Even veteran tow truck drivers can have difficulty manipulating a tow truck that is hauling a heavy load. Nevertheless, these drivers owe a duty of care to everyone else on the road at that time to operate their vehicles in a safe, careful, and prudent manner. These drivers must be careful to obey all roadway laws and regulations, including allowing enough stopping distance at an intersection. Drivers must be sure to take weather conditions—especially rain and snow—into account at all times when they are operating their vehicles. They must also be sure not to engage in distracted driving like texting on a cell phone or using a tablet while operating the tow truck or operating a tow truck while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Doing so significantly increases the chances of causing an accident with another motor vehicle.
Improper Tow Truck Maintenance
Tow truck drivers and the companies that own these vehicles are responsible for making sure that their vehicles are in proper working order at all times—and that they are properly maintained. Proper vehicle maintenance includes making sure that the equipment on the vehicle is properly maintained at all times, including all of the tow truck’s overhead lighting features and devices which are used to attach and secure loads to the tow truck.
If an accident victim can demonstrate that a tow truck accident occurred because of improper maintenance, he or she may bring a claim or file a lawsuit against a negligent driver, tow truck company, or a maintenance facility that failed to perform the necessary repairs or maintenance in a workmanlike manner.
Improper Road Maintenance
In some tow truck accidents, improper road maintenance can cause or contribute to a collision with another motor vehicle. Municipalities, construction companies, and others are responsible for making sure that roadways are maintained in a safe and reasonable condition at all times. For example, these entities are responsible for ensuring that roadways are free of dangerous potholes and other defects that could cause or contribute to a motor vehicle collision.
If the accident victim can demonstrate that improper road maintenance, such as a deep pothole, caused a tow truck’s load to disengage and collide with another motor vehicle, causing an accent, then the accident victim may file a claim against the entity responsible for maintaining the road. In some instances, the responsible entity may be a city, county, or other municipality. You should keep in mind, however, that if you are filing a claim or lawsuit against a governmental entity, there is usually a notice requirement that you must fulfill before filing a lawsuit directly against the entity in the state court system.
Tow Truck Company Negligence
Tow truck companies are responsible for hiring, retaining, and training experienced drivers to operate their vehicles. In terms of training, drivers must be instructed on how they should properly load, maintain, and operate their tow trucks, in accordance with the prevailing state laws, traffic regulations, and safety standards. Moreover, tow truck companies are tasked with hiring and retaining safe drivers who will operate the company’s vehicles in a careful and safe manner at all times.
If the accident victim can show that the tow truck accident resulted from improper driver training, then the tow truck company may share in some or all of the responsibility for an accident that occurs. Moreover, if the accident victim can demonstrate that the negligent tow truck driver had accumulated a series of past driving infractions or moving violations, then the tow truck company may be responsible for negligently hiring or retaining a problem driver.
Injuries and Damages Suffered in Tow Truck Accidents
When a motor vehicle collision involves a tow truck, accident victims may suffer very serious injuries. Those injuries may include internal injuries, soft tissue injuries, bone fractures, back injuries, paralysis injuries, and traumatic brain injuries, to name a few. Moreover, the victims of these accidents may need to seek extensive medical treatment and may be incapacitated for a long period of time.
To recover compensation for injuries suffered in a tow truck accident, the accident victim must show that the tow truck driver, or some other person or entity, acted unreasonably under the circumstances—and that this negligence led to the tow truck accident. Moreover, the accident victim must show that he or she suffered one or more injuries in the accident and that these injuries were a direct and proximate result of the accident.
If the accident victim can prove negligence on the part of the tow truck driver or someone else, then the accident victim is eligible to recover monetary damages for his or her injuries. Generally speaking, the more serious the injuries the accident victim suffered, and the more extensive the medical treatment, the higher the amount of the potential damages in the tow truck accident case.
Accident victims who suffer their injuries in a tow truck accident may pursue a claim for medical costs, lost earnings, inconvenience, mental distress, pain and suffering, permanent injury or disability, loss of earning capacity, and loss of family support or spousal companionship. An experienced tow truck accident lawyer can assist you with pursuing any of these types of damages, to make you whole to the greatest extent possible.
How a Lawyer Can Assist You with Your Tow Truck Accident Personal Injury Case
If you have suffered one or more injuries in a tow truck accident, an experienced tow truck accident attorney can be an invaluable help to you throughout your case. First of all, a lawyer will gather all of your medical records and bills once you have completed your medical treatment. A lawyer can also review the police report and determine who likely caused or contributed to the tow truck accident.
Your lawyer can then file a personal injury claim with the at-fault person or entity’s insurance company. In the case of a tow truck accident, this may mean filing a claim against the insurer for the tow truck company. Once the insurance company reviews the claim, an adjuster may present you with a settlement offer, which you may decide to either accept or reject. In the majority of motor vehicle accident cases, initial offers made by insurance companies are not good offers. Therefore, your attorney will likely have to negotiate a more reasonable settlement offer on your behalf.
If the insurance company does not offer you full and fair compensation for your injuries, then you have the option of filing a lawsuit in the state court system. Even though you may file a lawsuit, this does not necessarily mean that your case will be tried in front of a jury. In fact, the majority of motor vehicle accident cases settled at some point along the way. Your lawyer can help you decide whether you should accept a settlement offer or take the risk of going to trial.
If you decide to take your case to trial, your lawyer will help you make the best presentation possible and will strongly advocate for your right to recover monetary compensation for the injuries which you suffered in your tow truck accident.
Call a Tow Truck Accident Lawyer about Your Case Today
Tow truck accidents have many potential causes and can lead to serious injuries and extensive medical treatment. Your number one priority following a tow truck accident should be to pursue the medical treatment that you need to recover from your injuries.
While you recover, an experienced truck accident lawyer can work behind the scenes to handle all of the legal aspects of your case, such as gathering documentation and preparing a demand that can be sent to the at-fault party’s insurance company. Contact a knowledgeable lawyer who will do everything he or she can to help you recover the compensation you deserve from the person or entity who caused your accident.
Brauns Law, P.C.
3175 Satellite Boulevard, Bldg 600
Duluth, GA 30096