What Should I Do If a Tow Truck Damages My Vehicle in Texas?August 24, 2021
Here Are the Important Steps to Take After a Tow Truck Damages Your Car
Moving and storing vehicles are central operations of the towing industry. In fact, whether you or someone else arranges to have your vehicle towed, it should be safely transported and stored, without being damaged. And if you’re ever sharing the roads with tow trucks, you should be able to be confident that the operators will safely handle trucks and towed vehicles.
Still, far too often, vehicle owners find their cars damaged by tow trucks and towing operators. Sometimes that happens in collisions. Other times, it occurs when vehicles are towed or stored by towing companies.
If your vehicle is somehow damaged by a tow truck in Texas, here is what you can do to protect your rights, take action, and determine if you have a potential claim for compensation.
When Tow Trucks Cause Damage on the Roads
About 2 in every 3 tow truck operators who suffer fatal injuries on the job are killed in traffic collisions, recent data reveals. Both deadly and non-fatal tow truck accidents often involve other vehicles. When they do and negligence is a factor, it commonly arises in the form of:
- Driver recklessness or carelessness: Tow truck operators may speed, make unsafe lane changes, or oversteer. While those dangerous actions can make it harder to safely control heavy tow trucks, they can also cause towed vehicles to drift into other lanes of traffic (including oncoming traffic if the oversteering happens in sharper left or right turns).
- Driver inexperience: Tow truck operators are required to hold certain permits and licensing in Texas, but not all of them do. In some cases, towing companies may knowingly put untrained or risky operators behind the wheel. Either way, it can mean more accidents, both in mishandling the tow truck on the road and in operating key equipment on that truck, like the trailer hitches securing towed vehicles.
These aren’t the only forms of negligence that can lead to tow truck accidents on Texas roads, and tow truck operators and towing companies are not the only ones who can be liable for these crashes. Several other factors and parties can play a role in these crashes. That’s why it’s important to take some key steps after a collision with a tow truck whenever possible.
What to Do After a Tow Truck or Towed Vehicle Hits Your Car
If you’re driving when a tow truck crashes into your vehicle, take these key steps after the wreck:
- Call police and wait at the scene.
- Get emergency care, if needed.
- Take pictures and videos of the damage and accident scene.
- Get the towing operator’s name, business card, and TDLR number (on the truck).
- Get the names and contact information of any other parties involved in the crash, as well as any witnesses to the collision.
- Report the crash to your insurance company.
- See a doctor to treat any crash-related injuries you’ve suffered.
- Call a lawyer to get critical insights about your best options for financial recovery.
When Tow Trucks Damage Towed Vehicles
If your vehicle was being towed when it was damaged, it’s important to determine how exactly the damage happened — and what evidence you have or can obtain to prove that. While towed vehicles may get damaged if they fall off of trailers or detach from tow trucks, they could also be hit in collisions with other vehicles while they are being transported to a towing storage lot.
What to Do If your Towed Vehicle Was Damaged by a Tow Truck
If your vehicle has been damaged after being towed in Texas, take these steps:
- Carefully inspect your entire vehicle so you can identify all points of new damage.
- Don’t automatically accept cash on the spot. The damage could be more extensive than meets the eye, so get it checked out before money is exchanged.
- Photograph the damage, your vehicle, and its location/surroundings at the towing facility.
- Get the name(s) and business card(s) of the operator(s) you speak to at the towing facility, as well as the operator who towed your vehicle.
- Ask to see pictures and/or videos of your vehicle that the towing operator took before transporting it (some companies require operators to do this, so it’s worth inquiring about).
- Give the towing company the opportunity to resolve the issue and cover damage costs.
- Report the incident to your insurance company and file a claim.
- Consider filing a complaint against the towing company with the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation. You may also consider filing a police report.
Finally, talk to an attorney to learn about your rights and legal options if you’re dealing with substantial damages and hassles with the insurance company (small claims court can be the way to go for lesser damage amounts).