The last thing a driver may expect from a tow company is further damage to his or her vehicle while it is being towed. However, such damage can likely happen. Understanding how these accidents can happen, how to prove damage, and what to expect from a tow truck company will help when pursuing legal action.
Awareness of what to expect while having the vehicle towed leads to better preparation for such a scenario; also, it helps in seeking compensation. Lack of such knowledge can lead to further stress and worry about the unnecessary damages.
How Can a Tow Company Damage My Vehicle?
Damage to the bumper is one of the most common ways a tow truck can damage a vehicle. Often, a bumper is damaged due to the improper method of hooking the tow to the vehicle. This can cause dents, scratches, and the improper alignment of the car. Other damages include cracks to the windshield and deflating or puncturing of the tires.
Sometimes, car damage occurs when the tow truck collides with another vehicle. Also, damages can occur if a tow truck driver acted negligently. For example, the driver may veer off to an adjacent lane, causing it to collide with another vehicle. The driver can also cause damage while negotiating curves and oversteering the vehicle while turning. It is also plausible that the vehicle unhooks from the truck and collides with another vehicle or object.
Another scenario of damage occurs when items are stolen from the vehicle while it is in the tow lot. Tow companies should provide proper security of the vehicles in the lot by securing the property.
If the lot is not secured appropriately, vehicle parts and items can be stolen from the vehicles on the lot. Also, tow companies should ensure that vehicles are secured properly by locking the doors and closing the windows of the cars so that no items and belongings are stolen from them.
How Can I Prove Damage Was Done to My Vehicle?
Proving damage can be a difficult task. It is important to have a record of the condition of the car prior to it being towed and another record after it is towed. Photographs of the vehicle before it was towed or a document, such as a form that indicates the condition of the car before it was towed, will be helpful in proving damage.
It is also beneficial to photograph or capture video footage of the tow truck hooking the car to the truck. This way, if there is damage, the photographs and videos can be used to analyze how it was caused.
It is also important to have photographs of the damage that has already occurred to the vehicle prior to the tow company’s involvement. Oftentimes, a tow company gets involved because the vehicle was already damaged in a car accident and needs towing. Having photographs that document the damage that occurred to the vehicle can be used to show the condition of the car before it was towed.
Another way to prove damage is to have witness testimony about the damage to the car. Also, there may be witnesses at the tow yard, or the driver of the tow company may admit to causing damage.
A driver should also immediately notify the tow company of the damage as soon as it is noticed. A written complaint can also be used as a way to prove what damage occurred and when the company was notified.
What Should I Expect from a Tow Company?
Tow truck drivers are expected to act reasonably when towing a vehicle. This means that towing should be conducted in a reasonable manner without causing damage to the car, and the vehicle should be secured so that no theft occurs. Tow truck drivers should also ensure that they practice safe driving by using appropriate signals to provide cautionary warning to other vehicles on the roadways.
Towing companies may use forms with exculpatory language to escape liability. Ensure that forms that detail the condition of the car are accurately depicted. Also, do not use a tow company that tries to have liability excused, even when it involves their negligence.
How Can I Recover Damages?
If a vehicle is damaged by a tow truck, the vehicle owner can try to recover damages directly from the towing company or through an insurance carrier.
When damage is first noticed, it is important to clearly and immediately notify the towing company and seek compensation. It is likely that the company will deny liability because damages will be hard to prove. Therefore, it is important to have supporting evidence that the damaged was caused by the towing company. It will be very easy for the company to claim that the damage was already present before the involvement of the towing company. Drivers should ensure that they have photographs supporting the claim that the towing company has caused the alleged damage.
Another important entity to notify of damage is the insurance carrier for the vehicle. Often, the insurance company will have experts who can assess the damage that occurred prior to the tow company’s involvement and the damage that occurred after. Notifying the insurance provider will help in gathering the appropriate evidence that is needed.
If items are missing or stolen from the vehicle, it is important to provide the towing company and insurance company of the value of each item. Also, consultation with an insurance adjuster or an auto body specialist may be necessary to assess damage and repair costs so that an accurate amount of money damages can be recovered.
If the towing company does not offer compensation, the insurance company may handle the claim and compensate for repair costs. Typically, vehicle insurance coverage includes collision coverage that occurs due to towing.
A tow truck is considered to be a vehicle and any damage that it causes may be considered as a covered incident. However, an analysis of the particular insurance contract will be necessary to make sure that the collision coverage includes accidents that occur when towing. Also, depending on the type of coverage, a deductible may need to be paid or a threshold amount of damages must occur to trigger coverage.
How Can I Prove Liability?
Proving liability against a towing company is complicated. This is due to the fact that the towing company often gets involved when there is already some damage done to the vehicle. It may be hard to prove that the towing company has caused additional damage. Also, if the damage that is caused is reasonable and foreseeable, then the towing company may not be held liable.
Often, damage to a vehicle is very disruptive, it can cause financial anxiety and stress for the victim. Also, towing is usually necessary because the car was involved in a collision. Drivers should not add to the complication and stress of figuring out how to make the towing company accountable by trying to handle the matters on their own accord.
If a vehicle owner suspects that a towing company caused damage to his or her car, consult a car accident lawyer who can properly evaluate a claim.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Protect Vehicle Owners from Negligent Tow Truck Companies
If you suspect that a tow truck company caused damage to your vehicle, contact one of our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers today. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we have the expertise to evaluate claims against towing companies. Our lawyers work with experts and consultants to prove liability and seek rightful compensation for the damages sustained. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 757-352-2237. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we serve car accident victims throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.