What Happens If Your Car Is Damaged While Being Towed?

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.


Judge Dan Hinde

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:

  1. A vehicle being towed striking another car alongside it while the driver of the towing truck is trying to switch lanes.
  2. 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.
  3. A flatbed or towed vehicle unhooks and rolls into oncoming traffic, thereby resulting in damage caused when it is struck by another car.
  4. 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
  • Dents
  • 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.

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Comments 12

  1. Steve Smith says:

    It helped when you said that having insurance is a solution for the safety of your towing process. After moving to our current area, I experienced a car breakdown because of an overheating problem due to radiator fan parts. It caused me too much hassle to think about what could be the best option to do. I’m thankful for this helpful towing guide article for efficient towing planning. I’ll consult a trusted towing company in the future to ensure a proper process for resolving the issue.

  2. Ron Reichler says:

    Car was hooked up underneath with cable, on flatbed, front end first. My car was at mid point in lift when cable detached and car rolled off flatbed. Car hit bricks of my garage causing scuff marks on back panel. My vehicle is 17 years old so I didn’t think was great damage. I’m more concerned why towguy didn’t KNOW why it slipped away and could there be damage under engine. Now I wouldn’t know that until my car not starting problem is repaired. which could cost in hundreds dollars and if damage occurred , it’s like beating a dead horse. Could I be repairing a dead car. what to do? GEICO expert will be calling back as I explained this all to the receptionist .

  3. Satha Jubail says:

    Thanks for your services. We are towing your car.

  4. sathajubail says:

    Yes sometime there is a damage during towing a car.

  5. Rachel Frampton says:

    My sister is currently looking for a towing service because her car’s engine died. I also agree with you that car alignment issues must be addressed. Thank you for suggesting the importance of checking the insurance coverage too.

  6. Melissa Ackerly says:

    Thanks for pointing out that the tires can be a bit vulnerable if ever something goes wrong when towing a car. I’d like to go to a vehicle repair shop soon because my car doesn’t seem to drive as smoothly ever since I had it towed two weeks ago.

  7. Kristofer Van Wagner says:

    Thanks for reminding us that following an auto accident, it is advisable that we ensure they are licensed and registered. In doing so, we are guaranteed that they are legitimate. I will definitely keep this information in mind the next time I need a towing service.

  8. Gregory Kerber says:

    A and B Towing in Portland, Oregon towed my car yesterday morning and when it was done at the shop I picked it up and immediately noticed the alignment pulling to the left. Followed by a rumbling and shaking in the front end when stopping or making a slow turn. I called A and B Towing the next morning – the manager and some other clown could do nothing but say I was lying to them and I was just trying to get my car fixed for free! Never have I seen such unprofessionalism. I kept my cool- but got hung up on 3 times. They insulted me, slandered me, and without a doubt told me to go …. myself. Avoid at all costs if possible, unless you like that sort of thing.

  9. Alice Carroll says:

    Thanks for pointing out that the tires can be a bit vulnerable if ever something goes wrong when towing a car. I’d like to go to a vehicle repair shop soon because my car doesn’t seem to drive as smoothly ever since I had it towed two weeks ago. I think it will need a tire alignment if not new tires entirely.

  10. Michael Hello says:

    I had a tow truck come and repo a car on my property and they told my property up I had got the information from the guy who car was repo it was a company out of Houston and they gave me the number of the tow truck company and they’ve been ignoring my phone calls what is my next step

  11. Valarie Vargas says:

    my car got extremely damaged, not drivable, no communication or professionalism needing to file a small claims court.

    • Otilia Green says:

      That’s exactly what happened to my daughter this past weekend. The tow company damaged her car. The police officer stood there and watched everything and didn’t do a thing. I don’t know what to do

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