Tow Truck Accidents

January 5, 2024 | Gary Annes
Tow Truck Accidents

Accidents involving tow trucks are an unfortunately all-too-common local occurrence. These accidents sometimes occur when tow truck drivers and trucking companies fail to properly load or unload vehicles onto tow trucks. At other times, they may happen when tow truck drivers commit negligent acts while on the road.

For example, a tow truck driver may speed aggressively, fail to use their turn signal, or neglect to yield the right-of-way to an oncoming vehicle. Depending upon the circumstances, both a tow truck driver and the company that employs them may be legally responsible for any accident.

If you or someone you love recently suffered injuries in a tow truck accident, you should immediately consult with a skilled truck accident attorney in your jurisdiction. Your attorney can investigate your accident circumstances and pursue the financial recovery you deserve from the at-fault driver or tow truck company's insurer.

Your attorney can also pursue litigation in your case if the insurance company denies liability for your accident or simply refuses to make you a fair monetary settlement offer.

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How do Tow Truck Accidents Frequently Happen?

Tow truck accidents, while relatively less common than other types of motor vehicle accidents, can still pose serious risks due to the nature of the towing industry and the challenges associated with handling disabled or impounded vehicles.

Tow Truck

Some of the most common causes of tow truck accidents include:

  • Reckless Driving:  Tow truck operators, especially those responding to emergencies, may use reckless driving maneuvers to quickly reach accident scenes. Speeding, abrupt lane changes, or ignoring traffic signals can lead to collisions with other vehicles.
  • Traffic Violations:  Tow truck operators may engage in aggressive driving behaviors, such as speeding, tailgating, or failing to use a turn signal to reach their destination quickly. Violating common traffic rules increases the likelihood of accidents with other vehicles on the road.
  • Improper loading or towing techniques:  Incorrectly loading or towing a vehicle can lead to instability, making the tow truck prone to overturning or causing accidents. Failing to properly secure the towed vehicle may cause it to detach during transit.
  • Tow truck equipment failure:  Tow trucks rely on specialized equipment, including winches and cables, to secure and tow vehicles properly. Mechanical failures or equipment malfunctions can occur, posing dangers to both the tow truck operator and other vehicle operators. 
  • Tow truck driver fatigue:  Tow truck operators frequently work long hours, especially when responding to emergencies or providing 24/7 towing services. Fatigue can impair their judgment and reaction time, increasing the risk of serious accidents.
  • Inadequate tow truck driver training:  Insufficient training of tow truck operators frequently contributes to accidents. Prospective drivers must thoroughly understand the intricacies of towing different types of vehicles, using equipment correctly, and following all safety protocols.
  • Visibility challenges for tow truck drivers:  Tow trucks often operate in challenging conditions, such as adverse weather or low-light situations. Reduced visibility can lead to accidents, especially if the tow truck is not visible to other drivers.
  • Failing to use proper signage:  When towing a vehicle, tow truck operators need to use proper signage to alert other drivers. Failing to do so can lead to collisions, especially if other drivers are unaware of the towing operation.
  • Distracted vehicle operation:  Distractions, such as mobile phones or in-cab technology, can divert a tow truck operator's attention from the road, causing serious accidents.

Preventing tow truck accidents involves a combination of proper training, adherence to safety protocols, ongoing equipment maintenance, and responsible driving behavior. When tow truck drivers and companies make mistakes, serious accidents can occur.

If you recently suffered injuries in a tow truck accident, you should immediately consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer can explore your options and take the necessary steps to secure the financial compensation you deserve.

Common Injuries in a Tow Truck Accident

Tow truck accidents can result in many injuries for other drivers and passengers.

Some of the most common injuries associated with tow truck accidents include:

  • Back injuries: In an accident scenario, the force of impact from a tow truck collision can lead to muscular strains, herniated discs, vertebrae fractures, spinal cord damage, or paralysis injuries.
  • Crush injuries:  Tow truck accidents may also involve the risk of crush injuries, leading to severe trauma, fractures, or even loss of limbs.
  • Whiplash and neck injuries:  Other motorists and their passengers are susceptible to whiplash and neck injuries in a tow truck collision. Sudden stops or impacts may cause the accident victim’s head and neck to jerk forward and backward in an abrupt manner, resulting in strains, sprains, or more severe injuries to the cervical spine (such as the neck region).
  • Fractures and broken bones:  The impact associated with a tow truck accident may lead to fractures and broken bones in various parts of the body. This can occur due to collisions, falls, or other traumatic events during the accident.
  • Traumatic head and brain injuries:  Traumatic head and brain injuries (TBIs) can occur if a driver or passenger’s head strikes a hard surface during an accident, such as the headrest or steering wheel. Even with safety measures in place, such as helmets for motorcyclists and bicyclists, the potential for head injuries remains – particularly in high-impact tow truck collisions.
  • Open lacerations and bruises:  Sharp edges on vehicles, debris, and broken glass pose serious hazards to other drivers and their passengers in tow truck accidents. The force of a collision may lead to deep lacerations, which require stitches.
  • Internal bleeding and organ damage:  Blunt force trauma in a tow truck accident may lead to internal injuries, such as damage to various bodily organs or internal bleeding.
  • Psychological and emotional trauma:  Besides physical injuries, tow truck accident victims may experience psychological trauma following their accident, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Secondary injuries:  Tow truck accidents can also lead to secondary injuries, such as from serious falls, being struck by objects, or entanglement with equipment

Recovering from injuries sustained in tow truck accidents often requires comprehensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, occupational therapy, and/or physical therapy.

While you focus on recovering from your accident-related injuries, a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer near you can handle the legal components of your case and begin obtaining the necessary documents to prove your personal injury claim or lawsuit successfully.

Filing a personal injury claim against a negligent tow truck driver or tow truck company requires a strategic and thorough approach.

First, gathering evidence documenting the accident is important, including photographs, witness statements, and relevant police reports. Evidence is critical to prove a truck driver's negligence or the tow truck company's legal liability.

Once your attorney gathers all the necessary documentation in your case, they can submit a personal injury claim to the negligent tow truck driver or trucking company’s insurer. They can also aggressively negotiate with insurance company adjusters on your behalf and pursue the maximum amount of compensation available to you within the limits of the available insurance policy.

Also, if the insurance company does not compensate you fairly, your attorney can prepare a lawsuit for filing in the state court system.

If litigation becomes necessary in your case, an experienced truck accident lawyer near you can guide you through the legal process, prepare you for your discovery deposition, and represent you during all legal proceedings – including your civil bench or jury trial.

Your attorney can also help determine the monetary damages you are eligible to claim, including medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

What do I Need to Prove in a Tow Truck Accident Case?

To recover financial compensation in a tow truck accident case, you must establish several legal elements of proof:

  1. You must demonstrate that the tow truck driver and/or the trucking company that employs the driver owed you a legal duty of reasonable care.
  2. You must demonstrate that the at-fault party or parties violated that duty, bringing about your tow truck accident.
  3. You must show that you sustained at least one physical injury directly from your tow truck accident.

To establish medical causation for your accident-related injuries, a medical provider can physically examine you and provide a report that specifically relates your injury or injuries to the tow truck accident.

A medical provider may also serve as an expert witness in your case and testify on your behalf at a discovery deposition or civil jury trial.

What Types of Monetary Damages Can I Recover for My Tow Truck Accident Injuries?

Tow Truck Accident

In the aftermath of a tow truck accident resulting in injuries, accident victims may recover monetary damages to compensate them for their physical, emotional, and financial toll. The specific damages recovered will usually depend on the accident's circumstances and the extent of the resulting injuries.

Some of the most common types of monetary damages that a tow truck accident victim may pursue can include compensation for:

  • Medical expenses, including all reasonable and necessary medical costs related to the tow truck accident, such as hospital bills, surgery costs, medication, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and any future medical expenses required for ongoing care
  • Lost income if the injuries from the tow truck accident led to missed work time or a reduced ability to earn income
  • Future loss of earning capacity if the accident victim’s claimed injuries result in a long-term impact on their ability to work
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement, where the tow truck accident victim may be entitled to compensation for the lasting impact on their life, appearance, and overall well-being
  • Pain and suffering, including monetary compensation for past/future physical pain, emotional distress, and a diminished quality of life (for example, when the accident victim is unable to partake in the same activities they once enjoyed before their accident)
  • Vehicular property damage, where the accident victim receives compensation for the repair or replacement of their vehicle and any personal property damaged in the tow truck accident (including the repair costs, replacement value, or fair market value of the damaged property)
  • Emotional distress, including financial damages for emotional anguish where the tow truck accident causes severe psychological or emotional trauma (such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Loss of consortium or companionship, where spouses and sometimes other family members may seek damages for the loss of companionship, support, or services resulting from the tow truck accident victim's physical injuries.

In some situations, tow truck accident victims may also be eligible to recover punitive damages, such as where the actions of the tow truck operator or the towing company are particularly egregious under the circumstances.

These damages punish the at-fault party and deter similar behavior. Some jurisdictions may disallow or cap or punitive damages.

To pursue favorable monetary damages after a tow truck accident, it is crucial to gather evidence, including medical records, accident reports, witness statements, and documentation of financial losses.

Consulting an experienced truck accident attorney is also essential when navigating the legal complexities, negotiating with insurance companies, and building a strong case for maximum financial compensation.

Your truck accident attorney will work hard to ensure that you receive fair and comprehensive compensation that reflects the full extent of your losses and suffering resulting from the accident.

Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today

If you recently suffered injuries, incurred medical expenses, or lost work time because of a tow truck accident, you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in your area right away.

Your attorney can explore the various legal options available to you in your case and concentrate on getting you the financial compensation you need and deserve.

Consultations with a truck accident attorney are free and can shed light on your legal options and the process ahead. Once you meet with a trusted firm, you can focus on your medical recovery while the attorneys focus on your financial recovery. Call today.

Gary Annes Author Image

Gary Annes

Partner

Personal Injury Lawyer With Over Twenty Years Of Experience

Gary Annes, a partner at Abels & Annes, P.C., has dedicated over two decades to practicing personal injury law, specializing in auto accidents, premises liability, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and sexual abuse. Since earning his law degree in 1995, Gary has led numerous jury trials, and adeptly resolved cases through arbitration and mediation, securing millions in compensation for his clients.

Author's Bio

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