When an accident occurs with a tow truck driver, it's not easy to determine who is responsible for the damages. Complex legal issues are often involved and it may require a bit of investigation to truly determine negligence.
In an accident like this, your first priority should be to ensure the safety of everyone involved, get medical care, and reach out to the police to complete a report. Your attorney can then build the case for negligence and help ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
When Is a Tow Truck Company Liable?
There are some situations where the tow truck company may be liable for the losses and damages you’ve incurred. While every situation warrants an investigation, some of the potential reasons the tow truck company may be responsible include:
- Improper loading. The vehicle was not maintained on the tow truck, causing damage. This may happen due to driver error or failed equipment, or sometimes both.
- Insufficient training. If the operator of the tow truck makes a mistake, it may be because they had limited training. Inexperience, often stated by a driver with statements such as, “Sorry, I’m new at this,” could indicate tow truck company liability.
- Failure to conduct background checks. Tow truck companies need to ensure their drivers can be considered safe. Those with a background check that reveals a history of reckless driving, for example, may not be safe. Not hiring safe drivers could put the company as the responsible party for losses.
One important factor to consider is whether or not the tow truck driver is an independent contractor or if they are working for the company as an employee. In an employee relationship, more responsibility falls on the shoulders of the company. In an independent contractor scenario, that individual may be responsible for their vehicle and actions.
When Is the Driver Held Liable?
Other times, the driver of the vehicle may be held responsible for losses. Again, the circumstances in every case are vastly different and should be carefully considered by a tow truck accident attorney. Here are a few examples:
- Drunk driving. The driver gets behind the wheel intoxicated or with some level of impairment from drugs or alcohol. That leads to their inability to operate the vehicle safely, causing the accident.
- Drowsy driving. In some cases, driving while tired can be just as risky as operating a vehicle intoxicated. Drivers who are driving too many hours without a rest break may be at risk of causing an accident.
- Distracted driving. Texting, talking on the phone, eating, and any other type of distraction make it hard for a driver to react fast enough when some type of risk occurs. Lane swerving is a common indication of this type of risk.
When Is Another Vehicle the Cause of an Accident?
On some busy Texas roadways, an accident with a tow truck could be brought on by many factors beyond just these two parties. For example, another vehicle may strike the tow truck and cause the truck to hit you. In this situation, it is important to determine why the driver struck the tow truck and, as a result, who is liable.
What Happens When You’re Partially at Fault?
Yet another scenario may occur in which you, as the driver of one of the vehicles involved, may be responsible for at least some of the losses. For example, the tow truck driver may have hit you due to being distracted, but you were crossed over the center line. Many scenarios may occur like this.
Ultimately, this leads to comparative negligence in Texas. That’s often determined based on evidence and a judge’s ruling when circumstances require it. If you are found to be partially at fault, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault to reflect your financial responsibility for the accident.
What Do You Do to Determine Who Holds Responsibility?
Tow truck accidents often involve complex variables. It can be difficult to determine if the driver of the tow truck or the tow truck company is liable for the losses you’ve incurred.
You’ve suffered loss, perhaps significant medical injuries, and the loss of personal property in your car. You don’t care who is responsible as long as someone covers those losses. Because of the complexity of cases like this, it is best to work closely with a tow truck accident attorney who can handle a comprehensive investigation.
The investigation looks into all evidence present to determine the likely cause of it. This may help to then determine negligence. That’s important because it may determine who pays for the losses you’ve incurred. If you bring a legal case against the wrong defendant, your case may be dismissed, and you will not recover damages. It’s critical to identify the liable party.
How to Preserve Your Rights After a Tow Truck Crash
It’s important to gather evidence at the scene of the accident, file a police report as soon as possible, and receive medical care. If you’re able to do so, gather information from witnesses, take photos of the scene, and jot down notes about what you remember.
Once you contact an attorney, an investigation can begin. This will support your efforts in gathering additional information and evidence. Ultimately, it may help to determine negligence and give you some idea of how to move forward with your case. In some cases, it may help you overturn an incorrect police report or fight against insurance companies who want to avoid paying what they owe.
The Button Law Firm provides comprehensive support to victims of car and truck accidents. Reach out to us now online or call for a consultation. We’re happy to discuss your case confidentially to determine what your next steps are.