Tow trucks are common at scenes of auto accidents. If a vehicle can’t run for whatever reason, then a tow truck presents the most efficient solution to transporting the vehicle to an auto repair center or the residence of the owner. While most professional towing companies adhere to lawful towing practices and procedures in accordance with the local codes, it is rather unfortunate that some don’t. When towing is done illegally, it has the potential to cause major inconveniences, creates an unanticipated financial burden, and causes extensive damage to your vehicle. So, what happens in the event that you discover your car is damaged while being towed?
Here is a helpful guide that essentially helps you to determine what steps you can take to get compensation.
Types of Damages That Are Likely To Occur
One of the most common forms of damages that can be caused by a tow truck is car bumper damage. This kind of damage often occurs when the hook is improperly positioned to tow your car. A tow truck striking your car also causes significant damage to your car bumper, depending on the size of the tow-truck. Other damages caused by tow trucks to the smaller vehicles include tire and windshield damage.
Who is held liable in towing accidents?
In the situations outlined below, it is possible for the towing truck to sustain damages in the event of an auto accident. Similarly, the car being towed could potentially get damaged too. Note that either of the aforementioned vehicles may contribute to a collision. Here are the most common scenarios:
- A vehicle being towed striking another car alongside it while the driver of the towing truck is trying to switch lanes.
- A towed car drifts into the next lane and hits an oncoming vehicle, especially at a corner due to poor negotiation of the curve by the driver of the towing truck.
- A flatbed or towed vehicle unhooks and rolls into oncoming traffic, thereby resulting in damage caused when it is struck by another car.
- The tow truck driver oversteers at a turn and hits a pedestrian.
In any accident towing scenario, whether the towed vehicle or tow truck causes damage, the driver is often held responsible for any damages sustained.
A number of factors come into play. One critical aspect is if your car was subjected to unprofessional or improper towing that led to the damages. It is important to note that if the damage to your vehicle isn’t directly linked to the laid out towing procedures, it might be much more complicated to get compensation.
What steps can you take to get compensation?
In general, you have options to commence legal action against the towing service provider itself through a claims court or file a claim seeking compensation with your insurance provider. In instances where the extent of damage caused to your vehicle is extreme or if your car is a rare one and costly, it might be imperative that you take legal action stretching beyond regular small claims. However, to tackle the matter more effectively, it is highly recommended that you seek out the help of an attorney.
Thankfully, if you are able to prove that the towing company used incorrect towing procedures while handling your vehicle, then your case will be much stronger and this has evidence provided in the page www.napolilaw.com. Talk to your insurance provider or lawyer to learn more about your rights and how you can successfully file a case for compensation. An attorney specializing in such matters is capable of helping you evaluate the case and collect relevant evidence and documentation needed to make your case a successful one.
1. Document the Damages
The main hurdle for vehicle owners caught up in such scenarios is the ability to prove that vehicular damage to a car has been caused by the provider of the towing services. If it can be proved that the damage caused is related to the towing procedures, then the case is much easier to handle, especially if pictures and other forms of documentation are available proving that the damages subjected to your car didn’t exist prior to towing. On the other hand, if your car was previously damaged or towed by a different company in the past, resolving the issue becomes more problematic. Most damage includes the following:
- Scratches to the exterior of a car
- Deflated tires
- Car alignment issues
The best form of evidence is to take photos of the damage. As mentioned earlier, you should arm yourself with photos of your car prior to the towing. If you don’t have the photos, take some the moment you spot the damage.
The service providers may try to offer a defense by claiming your vehicle was damaged from a previous accident or the damage is a pre-existing one – the reason why the company was called up to tow the vehicle. Make your case foolproof by getting eyewitness statements, as these help to back up the story you present. Additionally, you could get the tow-truck driver to provide an admission to causing damage to your car.
Take pictures and a video as they hook your car to the tow-truck. While they may not be pleased about such actions, it is within your rights to safeguard yourself as well as your property.
2. Your Rights In The Event That Your Car Is Damaged In The Process Of Being Towed
The tow truck driver is expected to take the necessary precautionary measures to essentially prevent your car from being damaged and to help secure your belongings from being stolen. Therefore, if your car is damaged or some of your belongings are missing, it is important that you raise a complaint directly with your appointed towing company. Make sure you put it down in writing.
If you have insurance coverage, you can inform them about the incidents that occurred. On the other hand, If you have no insurance, hire an auto body specialist who can professionally assess the level of damage and the repair costs. If some of your belongings were stolen or missing, you need to provide a valuation or cost of the missing item(s). You can then proceed to write to the towing company and ask for compensation. If they are not willing to compensate for the damages, you can file a claim seeking compensation.
3. Collision Coverage
In most cases, the collision coverage policy covers damages caused by tow trucks. Such policies will settle payment for damages caused to your car by other cars or objects that collide with your vehicle. Since a tow-truck is classified as “car or object,” you’ll be covered under the policy depending on the terms of the insurance provider.
However, there may be a requirement for you to pay up your deductible first in order to get reimbursed for any damages. The level of damage would have to be significant in nature that it goes above and beyond that amount.
Summary: Contact an Attorney
In the event that your car sustains damages caused by a tow truck, it is highly recommended that you contact a lawyer and discuss the details of your case. A licensed attorney is experienced and skilled enough to carry out a thorough evaluation of your case with the objective of determining if your claim can stand against the claim made by the other party. Speaking to a highly experienced attorney is additionally beneficial as it allows you to receive compensation for property damages, medical bills, and suffering and pain caused by the incident. When your car is damaged by a towing company, it is imperative that you seek compensation immediately.