Injured in a Tow Truck Accident? Tow trucks are on the roads to help stranded drivers and help keep the roads safer. But, sometimes, tow truck drivers cause accidents. Because tow trucks are large and have special equipment, tow truck accidents can cause serious injuries and result in thousands of dollars in property damage.
Tow Truck Facts
Tow truck drivers in many states are required to have a commercial drivers license (CDL). However, many jurisdictions are moving towards not requiring a CDL for some types of tow trucks.
Either private companies or local government agencies can operate tow trucks. Private companies own and operate the majority of tow trucks. These private companies may be called to tow disabled cars in parking lots, on streets, or on the freeway. Organizations such as AAA contract out to local companies to provide roadside assistance to their members. A tow truck may come out to a stranded car, not to tow it away, but simply to allow the tow truck driver to repair a flat tire.
Government agencies responsible for highways and freeways operate tow trucks in some cities and counties. When a government owned truck is involved in an accident, it can create more hoops to jump through when trying to collect money for injuries and property damage.
Often, local law enforcement or state transportation agencies, will contract with a few private companies to provide services such as removing cars after an accident or towing cars to a police impound yard after the driver has been arrested. When a private company working on a government contract causes an accident it can be complicated to know how to file a claim.
Even if the driver from the private company was at fault, because they were acting on behalf of a government agency, they have some protections under state law. You may have to treat them like a government agency for claims purposes.
If you have been involved in a tow truck accident, you need to consult with a knowledgeable car accident attorney to protect your rights.
Types of Tow Truck Accidents
Tow trucks come in a variety of types. Sometimes what makes something a tow truck isn’t the vehicle specifications as much as it is what the vehicle is used for. The five most common tow trucks in use today are:
- Hook and Chain
- Wheel Lift
These trucks all have powerful engines and are heavier than a typical truck. They also have specialized equipment, sometimes powered by separate motors. Because tow trucks frequently have to enter the flow of traffic from the side of the road, and because of their size and bulk, many to truck accidents while they are attempting to merge.
The most common types of tow truck accidents include:
- Rear end collisions
- Sideswipe collision
- Evasive action crash
- Head on collisions
- Under rider accidents
- T-bone collisions
- Blind spot crash
When a tow truck is hauling another vehicle and is involved in an accident, the results can be horrific. Cars are designed to withstand collisions with one motor vehicle. Modern engineering works to keep the energy from a crash moving through the car, while keeping the passenger compartment as untouched as possible. But, getting hit by a loaded tow truck is like getting hit by two or more cars at the same time. This often demolishes smaller cars.
Types of Tow Truck Injuries
Tow truck accident injuries will vary depending on factors such as:
- Speed of vehicles
- Size of vehicles
- Wearing seat belts
- Type of crash
- Placement in vehicle
No two accidents are the same. The exact physics of an individual accident largely determine the types and severity of injuries.
Tow truck accidents have been shown to cause:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fractured bones
- Back injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Seat belt bruising
After an accident one of your top priorities should be getting medical help. Even if you do not need to be immediately transported to the emergency room, you should still seek medical care within the first 48 hours after an accident. You may have injuries that do not surface right away. Let a medical professional exam you for any signs of internal injuries or hidden traumas.
Causes of Tow Truck Accidents
Car accidents of all kinds are caused by a variety of factors, but human error almost always plays a part.
One or more of the following usually causes tow truck accidents:
- Inexperienced or poorly trained driver
- Fatigued driver
- Distracted driver
- Excessive speed
- Following too close
- Failure to check blind spots
- Weather conditions
- Poorly maintained vehicle or equipment
- Defective tires
If you have been in a car accident caused by the negligence of a tow truck driver, you have a right to be compensated for your injuries and property damage. While tow truck drivers are required, like any other driver, to exchange information after an accident, the claims process for dealing with a tow truck company is not like a typical car accident claim.
Don’t lose out on the money you are entitled to. Let us help you find the right attorney for you.