When a tow truck is towing another vehicle, there is always the possibility of a serious accident. A driver may fail to secure a load properly. A piece of the towing rig may break or detach. A tow truck operator may be exhausted from working a long shift and make a driving error that leads to an accident.
A tow truck accident lawyer at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC can evaluate your accident and explain your legal options during a free consultation. Our tow truck accident attorneys have extensive experience in crashes involving commercial vehicles. We can review the details of the tow truck accident and evaluate whether you have a right to file an injury claim and seek compensation.
Attorneys David W. Craig and Scott A. Faultless have obtained board certification from the National Board of Trial Advocacy in commercial truck accident law, which includes garbage trucks, tow trucks, tractor trailers and other commercial vehicles. Only a select few attorneys nationwide are certified in commercial truck accident law. Our attorneys understand that a collision involving a tow truck can turn your life upside down and leave you facing a mountain of medical bills and an uncertain financial future. Let us review your accident and explain your options.
Types of Tow Truck Accidents
There are several types of tow trucks. The type of tow truck needed depends on the type of vehicle being towed.
Flatbed Tow Truck—A flatbed tow truck, also sometime referred to as a rollback, has a flatbed that is powered by a hydraulic system. It is the most commonly used tow truck. The bed tilts and slides to the ground. A car is driven or pulled by a winch onto the lowered bed, which is then raised off the ground after the vehicle is loaded.
Hook and Chain Town Truck—The traditional wrecker tow truck has a boom with a chain and hook that attaches to a car’s axle or a towing hook under the front of the vehicle. The boom and chain can be raised to lift the front of the towed vehicle off the ground. But they can cause damage to the drivetrain of a four-wheel drive vehicle. They are often used to remove wrecked cars from the scene of an accident.
Wheel Lift Tow Truck—A wheel lift tow truck uses a steel yoke instead of a hook to lift a vehicle. The yoke is attached to the back of the tow truck and placed under the front or rear wheels of a vehicle to lift it up for towing. The yoke offers more stability than a hook and chain.
Oversized Tow Truck—These heavy-duty vehicles have more power and enhanced towing capacity. They often have extra axles. They are used to tow tractor trailer trucks, buses, construction equipment, motor homes and other large vehicles.
Any type of tow truck can be involved in a serious accident.
How Do Tow Truck Collisions Occur?
Tow truck operators get calls to respond to disabled vehicles and wrecked vehicles at all hours of the day and night. They work in all types of weather and traffic conditions, increasing the risk of accidents.
Among the causes of tow truck accidents are:
- Inexperience on the part of the tow truck driver
- Failure to secure the accident scene while loading a wrecked vehicle
- Impairment from alcohol or drugs
- Towing more than rated towing capacity
- Dropped load caused by a vehicle that is not secured properly
- Driver fatigue
- Equipment failure
A tow truck parked in an active highway lane or roadway can cause a sudden traffic slow down. That can lead to a collision. Tow truck drivers should work with police to create a safe working area on an active road before loading a vehicle onto a tow truck. They should set out lights to increase visibility and make it easier to be seen by for oncoming vehicles. They should always wear high visibility clothing
The failure to properly secure a towed vehicle can cause an accident. If a tow truck driver doesn’t secure the towed vehicle and it falls onto the road while being transported, it can create a highway hazard and cause an accident.
Equipment on tow trucks includes winches, booms, tow bars, yokes, hooks and chains. If any part of the rigging breaks or releases, it can cause a serious accident. Rigging equipment should never be used to lift a load that is more than the safe working load the rigging is rated to handle. Tow truck operators are required by federal safety regulations to inspect the rigging equipment on the tow truck at the start of each shift. The truck should be removed from service if the rigging if found to be defective.
Tow trucks are exempt from some size and weight requirements when moving a disabled vehicle or combination of vehicles a distance of less than 50 miles.
Tow truck drivers working on the side of the road are at risk of being struck by passing cars. A study by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that the motor vehicle towing industry has a higher rate of work-related injuries and deaths than other industries. The study found that from 2011 to 2016, tow truck operators had 6,400 injuries that required time off work. The rate was more than double the average rate for all private sector industries.
Common Injuries from Tow Truck Crashes
- Soft tissue injuries
- Broken bones and compound fractures
- Neck and shoulder injuries
- Back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Tow trucks are larger than passenger vehicles and can cause serious injuries in a collision. Some severe injuries can have long lasting effects on your life. It’s important to work with knowledgeable truck accident attorneys who will calculate the present and future medical costs and other expenses related to your injury.
Any claim you submit should seek compensation for both present and future losses and medical expenses and your lost income from missed work. If you used your accumulated sick leave and vacation to recover from injuries caused by someone else’s carelessness, then you should be compensated for the value of those days.
If you accept a settlement from the insurer that does not take into account your future medical expenses, you may be getting shortchanged. If you have serious injuries, you want to work with attorneys who are serious about pursuing full compensation for you.
How an Attorney Can Help
To start with, we will explain whether you have a valid injury claim and the appropriate steps to take. We offer free consultations with experienced staff members at Craig, Kelley & Faultless to review the facts of the accident and the severity of your injuries. We will evaluate your case and discuss your legal options.
If you’ve suffered serious injuries in a tow truck accident, you may be due significant financial compensation. The key to developing a successful tow truck injury claim is determining how the accident occurred and who was at fault and therefore liable for your injuries.
Determining the liability in a tow truck accident can be complicated. It is important to work with a law firm that has the resources to invest the time needed to conduct a detailed accident investigation.
A tow truck accident attorney at Craig, Kelley & Faultless will investigate the details of the accident that caused your injuries. We have conducted numerous truck accident investigations and successfully resolved cases to our clients’ advantage.
Our skilled wrecker accident attorneys will determine whether the tow truck driver, the owner of the tow truck, or other at-fault party should pay for the bill associated with your collision.
We will calculate your present and future medical expenses and submit a demand letter to the insurance company representing the tow truck driver or owner seeking the full value of your claim.
Our attorneys at Craig, Kelley & Faultless are experienced trial lawyers. We are successful in settling most cases without a trial. But we will be prepared to present your case to an Indiana jury if the insurance company declines to agree to a just settlement.
Contact a Tow Truck Accident Lawyer
If you have been involved in an accident caused by a wreck driver or recovery truck driver, you may have a right to seek compensation for your injuries and related losses. But don’t expect the tow truck company or the tow truck driver’s insurance company to offer a just settlement without a fight.
Let a tow truck accident attorney at Craig, Kelley & Faultless stand up for your rights to a just settlement after an accident caused by a tow truck driver’s carelessness or negligence. Our attorneys will demand a full recovery for you. Call us at (800) 746-0226 or fill out the contact form on our website today to schedule a free consultation. Our experienced staff at Craig, Kelley & Faultless can review the details of your tow truck accident and discuss your legal options. Call us today.