How Tow Truck Accident Cases Work
Tow trucks, like 18-wheelers and buses, are commercial vehicles. Not only are they massive vehicles that can inflict a great deal of harm, they are defended by the same insurance companies and defense attorneys as are other large commercial vehicles, which makes recovering adequate compensation in a tow truck accident a daunting task for a non-attorney.
Additionally, the nature of the vehicle itself poses unusual risks, such as the huge hook found on most models. There are also tow trucks with a flatbed portion that, if not stowed or adjusted properly in relation to surrounding traffic, has such sharp edges that it is something comparable to a moving guillotine.
If you have been injured in an accident involving a tow truck, or lost a loved one due to this sort of tragedy, you need to be apprised of the legal options you may have in regard to pursuing compensation. The tow truck accident attorneys with Grossman Law Offices provide this article in order to answer some of the questions that are no doubt running through your mind.
Questions Answered on This Page:
- How do tow truck accidents work?
- How does legal strategy change when a tow truck is involved?
- Does it matter who owns a tow truck?
How Tow Truck Accidents Occur
There are many ways that a tow truck accident can take place, and any of these can result in significant injuries or even fatalities. Some of the common scenarios that we have encountered include accidents that took place under the following circumstances:
- Tow truck drivers falling asleep -- Just like 18-wheeler drivers, for example, tow truck drivers can work odd shifts and gruelingly long hours. Unlike the drivers of 18-wheelers, however, they are not required to take periodic shift breaks.
- The vehicle in tow becomes disconnected from the tow truck.
- The tow truck is parked in harm's way and approaching motorists do not have adequate warning. Most tow trucks are very well illuminated, but occasionally a tow truck driver will be in another motorist's path and he will not have its lights on.
- The brakes of the tow truck are taxed severely - when this takes place, obviously, the truck cannot come to a stop. Tow truck drivers are supposed to know how to modulate the brakes when the truck is hauling a load, because if they are not, those brakes can fail due to being overworked. Our firm once litigated a case where a tow truck driver overused his brakes on a steep freeway exit ramp, causing him to blow through a red light and T-boning our client, breaking his arms and legs. The tow truck driver later told police that he "forgot about the weight of the car."
But in all of the above scenarios, there are typically multiple liable parties. For instance, in the cases we've litigated where drivers fall asleep at the wheel, we often find that the transport company knowingly over-worked their employees. And in the instances we've litigated where vehicles are not properly illuminated, or their brakes were not properly applied, we find the drivers simply were not given adequate training. The significance of this is that showing the negligence of the driver nets one result. Showing that the company contributed to the driver's negligence nets a much more substantial result.
In order to determine all of the causal factors that may have contributed to an accident involving a tow truck, you will need an experienced law firm working on your behalf, one with the resources to conduct a thorough investigation. Not only will that investigation reveal the reason for the accident, it will also help you identify which parties you can target with legal action. And as you can tell from the above list, there could be several potential defendants, including not only the driver but also the towing company or the the manufacturer of a faulty part.
The only way that you can be guarantee yourself the best possible chance of obtaining compensation is by hiring an experienced tow truck accident attorney as soon as you can.
Who Owns Tow Trucks?
You may think of tow trucks as only being owned by small, private businesses that only own one or two vehicles. However, governmental departments use them as well, and many of the businesses that run towing operations have fleets of these vehicles operating in several different cities. A governmental agency such as a state's transportation department may use tow trucks as well on toll roads and major highways. Other governmental bodies, such as public works departments, fire, and police departments can also use them.
Taking action against either a private or public entity after a tow truck crash can be extremely complex and fraught with difficulties. Each has its own particular challenges, and success in either situation requires the help of a skilled attorney who is familiar with pursuing this kind of accident case. At Grossman Law Offices, we have represented clients in cases involving commercial vehicles, including tow trucks, for the past 25 years, so we have the experience you will need on your side to help you secure restitution for your suffering, and we will be able to obtain the hard proof needed for your case to prevail.
But who else would face liability in this sort of accident case? Some would argue that the company that calls for the vehicle can face liability. They have an obligation to do their due diligence and make sure they are dealing with a reputable and safe tow truck company. Admittedly, the towing company will incur most of the liability in an accident caused by their driver or vehicle, but the party directing the actions of the towing company cannot merely turn a blind eye.
Taking Action against a Towing Company
You can seek restitution from the towing company and its insurance company if you have been hurt in a tow truck accident that was caused by another party's negligence. However, it is imperative that you understand it will be very difficult for you to obtain fair compensation without legal representation, and you will encounter extremely formidable opposition. Tow truck insurance policies are typically very valuable, and thus the insurance company (or the tow truck company if it is self-insured) will work extremely hard to defeat your case. If you do not have the help of an experienced attorney, you will likely find it nearly impossible to win.
Plotting Your Legal Strategy
There are many ways in which a tow truck accident can take place, as mentioned previously, and therefore several variables that determine the legal course of action your attorney will take. The accident, for example, could have resulted from the negligence of the tow truck driver or due to the failure of a piece of safety equipment. It is not only important that you understand the kinds of tow trucks that are in use, such as wheel-lift, hook-and-chain and flat bed, but also how they operate.
Unless you happen to be a tow truck expert, it will be essential that you have the help of a lawyer who knows tow trucks inside and out, has a great deal of experience in litigating this kind of case, and most importantly, has a track record of winning them.
Call Grossman Law Offices as Soon as You Can
The attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have helped thousands of personal injury victims obtain fair compensation for the suffering they have experienced, and we would like the opportunity to put our passion and tenacity to work for you as well. If you or someone close to you has suffered an injury in a tow truck accident, please call us at (855) 326-0000 for a free and confidential consultation.
You may also want to read:
- Using ECM (Black Box) Data to Bolster Your Truck Accident Case
- Trucking Company Defenses: Blame a Victim's Intoxication for Their Injuries
- Collecting and Distributing Compensation after a Truck Accident