Tow trucks respond to accidents, but they can also get into collisions themselves – and their large size and unwieldy design can cause severe injuries and property damage when they do. The victim of such an accident may face expensive medical and repair bills, time missed at work, and long-term pain and suffering.
But if the tow truck driver caused the accident through their careless or reckless actions, the victim could also demand the driver or their employer compensate them accordingly.
However, towing companies and insurers fight hard to avoid liability for the injuries and losses they cause. You need a lawyer to guide you through the claims process and protect your rights.
A knowledgeable truck accident attorney in Zephyrhills can assist you with your tow truck accident claim by thoroughly investigating the crash, gathering evidence, building a compelling legal case, and pursuing settlement negotiations or litigation.
Understanding Tow Truck Accidents
A tow truck is a motor vehicle that can transport another motor vehicle, either on a flatbed or by hooking one end of the transported vehicle to a boom and winch attached to the towing vehicle.
People also may refer to another type of vehicle called a wrecker as a tow truck. However, unlike traditional tow trucks, wreckers have additional equipment to retrieve vehicles that have rolled over, run off the road, or become trapped in precarious positions.
The irony is that while manufacturers design tow trucks to respond to vehicular accidents, they can cause collisions, too. Companies manufacturing tow trucks and wreckers usually base these vehicles on heavy-duty truck chassis. As a result, they are larger and weigh more than passenger vehicles, and they impart greater force in a collision, too – enough to cause severe injuries to the occupants of any vehicle they hit.
Examples of injuries that might result from a tow truck accident include:
- Severe lacerations or degloving injuries
- Burns from post-accident vehicle fires
- Broken bones
- Dislocated joints
- Ligament sprains and tears
- Muscle/tendon strains and tears
- Neck and back injuries such as whiplash or herniated disc injury
- Nerve damage
- Crush injuries
- Internal organ injuries and internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Traumatic amputation or limb loss
Tow trucks can cause road accidents in several ways. One is by colliding with another vehicle while en route to a previous accident. Another is by dropping a wrecked or disabled vehicle in tow. Ultimately, the cause of a tow truck accident often rests with the vehicle’s driver.
Some of the top causes of tow truck accidents include:
- Speeding/driving too fast for conditions
- Reckless driving, including excessive speeding or swerving through traffic
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Failing to use turn signals or mirrors when turning or changing lanes
- Failing to activate warning or hazard lights when stopped on the road
- Distracted drivi, including using a cell phone while driving
- Drowsy/fatigued driving, especially since tow truck drivers may need to work during late night/early morning hours
- Failing to secure a towed vehicle properly
- Improper use of winching/retrieval equipment
Potential Financial Recovery in a Tow Truck Accident Claim
A collision with a tow truck can cause severe injuries and property damage.
If a negligent or reckless tow truck driver caused the crash, you can demand they compensate you for:
- Costs of vehicle repairs or reimbursement for the value of your totaled car
- Medical treatment and rehabilitation expenses
- Ongoing and future losses of earnings and employment benefits Physical pain or emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life caused by disabilities or permanent scarring/disfigurement
What Does a Lawyer Do for You in a Tow Truck Accident Claim?
Any accident claim involves complex facts, evidence, and legal issues, especially those that involve tow trucks. Tow truck companies and insurers have significant resources to fight accident claims and avoid liability to injured victims.
Hiring legal representation can level the playing field for victims, helping them to stand up to these powerful companies and demand financial recovery for what they suffered.
If you suffered severe injuries in a tow truck accident, you deserve to devote your time and energy to your treatment and rehabilitation. A lawyer can help you by handling the details of your tow truck accident claims while you focus on healing your injuries. Here are some of the ways a lawyer can help you.
Gathering Evidence and Identifying Liable Parties
An experienced tow truck accident attorney knows what evidence might prove the driver caused the collision and your subsequent injuries and what makes their employer liable.
These accidents may involve more evidence than other auto accidents, including documents and records from the tow truck company.
A lawyer might help recover evidence such as:
- The tow truck’s event data recorder (black box) logs and dashcam/in-cab camera footage
- The tow truck driver’s shift logs and employment records
- The tow truck driver’s cell phone records or radio dispatch logs
- Maintenance and repair records for the tow truck
- Surveillance/traffic camera footage of the accident
- Police accident reports
- Eyewitness testimony
Your attorney might also work with accident reconstruction and engineering experts to review evidence from the accident, determine what caused it, and identify who bears responsibility for its consequences.
Your lawyer will also look for any other parties who may also share liability for your injuries and losses, such as the tow company. That way, they can pursue the full amount of compensation available to you.
Documenting Injuries and Losses
In preparing a tow truck accident claim, your attorney will also gather documentation of your injuries and losses to support the figure they demand on your behalf.
To that end, your attorney might obtain copies of medical records of your treatment and rehabilitation and gather records of your expenses. These can include bills, invoices, and receipts for medical care, vehicle repairs, and other ancillary costs incurred during your treatment.
Where appropriate, a lawyer might also collaborate with medical, financial, and vocational experts to estimate future care or services you may need and future lost earnings if disabilities prevent you from returning to full-time employment.
Because you cannot demand additional compensation after receiving a settlement or award against a liable tow truck driver or towing company, your attorney will try to secure the financial resources you will need long after your tow truck accident claim ends.
Negotiating With Trucking Companies and Insurers
Insurance company representatives or insurance adjusters will vigorously deny liability for a tow truck accident and try to shift blame for the crash onto you. After all, their goal is to maximize their profits, not do the right thing for the people their customers injure.
Insurers try to induce accident victims to accept less than full compensation. Their tricks include pressuring claimants to accept a quick settlement or delaying the investigation or processing of a claim.
The company might ask you to provide a written or recorded statement, during which an adjuster will ask you questions designed to elicit responses they can use to undercut your case.
They may request medical releases, ostensibly to verify your injuries. What they really want is to obtain access to your medical history, where they can look for any record of a pre-existing injury or degenerative condition they can blame your injuries on.
Fortunately, you do not have to deal with the towing and insurance companies on your own. Your tow truck accident attorney can do that for you, preventing you from making a mistake that could cost you valuable compensation. Your lawyer can protect your rights and interests and push the tow company or insurer toward resolving your claim through a settlement.
Most accident claims never see the inside of a courtroom. Instead, they end in a settlement, which pays the injured party for what they suffered and protects the other party from further liability. However, pursuing litigation can become the best way forward when an insurance company does not make a fair offer.
A lawyer can file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, which in Florida usually gives you two years from your tow truck accident. A lawyer can draft your complaint, represent you in court, and prepare a compelling case to present at trial if litigation advances that far. Their experience and skills will greatly increase your chance of getting the full compensation you deserve.
Tow Truck Accident FAQs
Here are the answers to some of the questions that tow truck accident victims frequently ask.
How Much Does Legal Representation in a Tow Truck Accident Claim Cost?
A tow truck accident can cost you thousands of dollars, and you might worry about the added expense of engaging experienced legal representation.
Fortunately, you do not need to. Most tow truck accident attorneys represent clients on a contingency fee basis. In a contingency fee arrangement, a client pays nothing upfront to hire an attorney. Instead, the lawyer collects a legal fee only if they recover compensation for their client through a settlement or at trial, with the lawyer’s legal fee coming from the financial award so the client does not have to pay out-of-pocket.
Tow truck accident victims have enough to worry about as it is. They shouldn’t have to forego legal representation that will help them maximize their financial recovery. The contingency fee solves this problem.
When Should I Contact a Tow Truck Accident Lawyer?
Treating and recovering from your injuries should be your primary focus after a tow truck accident. The sooner you speak to a tow truck accident lawyer, the sooner you can do so. They can handle all the legal heavy lifting on your behalf, leaving you free to worry about what matters most: your health.
If you wait to hire a tow truck accident lawyer, you might jeopardize your legal options, as evidence disappears over time and deadlines on claims expire. Contact a tow truck accident lawyer if the crash damaged your vehicle or if you sought medical attention and had a doctor diagnose you with injuries from the accident.
Do I Really Need Legal Help?
Yes. Without someone in your corner protecting your rights and handling the insurance company on your behalf, you could struggle to get the money you need to rebuild your life.
Hiring Experienced Legal Counsel Can Improve Your Chances of Obtaining Financial Recovery After a Tow Truck Accident
A tow truck accident can leave you with life-altering injuries and expenses. But if it occurred because of the driver’s negligent operation of their vehicle, you could seek financial recovery from the driver or the towing company.
Tow truck accident claims often involve more complex evidence and issues than other motor vehicle accident cases, though – issues that a lawyer knows how to resolve.
Working with a knowledgeable tow truck accident lawyer can make the claims process more manageable and less stressful. They can handle every aspect of your case on your behalf, leaving you free to concentrate on your physical and mental recovery.
Your attorney can investigate the accident, secure evidence, document your injuries and losses, and pursue your claims through settlement negotiations or, if necessary, litigation.
Don’t wait to contact a tow truck accident lawyer after a crash. The sooner you obtain legal representation, the quicker you might recover compensation for your medical bills, vehicle repairs, lost income, and pain and suffering.