Tow trucks respond to accidents just like fire, police, and EMTs. Often, a tow truck’s job is difficult, getting into position, lifting the car or truck it is there to help, then getting out without damaging their surroundings. Sometimes tow truck workers fail to take the proper care in performing these duties, injuring bystanders, other drivers, or other tow truck workers.
Beyond these concerns, tow trucks are still large vehicles, and are capable of causing massive damage if they cause an accident. The added weight of an additional vehicle often puts these trucks well above the weight class of other vehicles on the road, leading to serious dangers.
Tow Truck Dangers
Often, tow trucks are used in awkward places, in awkward positions, to retrieve damaged or disabled vehicles. This may mean interesting feats of maneuvering on the part of the tow truck operator to get the truck into position. For other drivers on the road, this may create a full or partial obstruction that increases the risk of an accident on the road. If the truck is near a blind turn or corner, other drivers may not be expecting to stop suddenly because of the obstruction, leading to accidents. Further, when maneuvering into position, these trucks may suddenly drift or swerve into other lanes of traffic, especially on tight city streets or on the highway. Avoiding these moves, as a pedestrian or another driver, might be impossible.
Depending on the type of truck, there are other dangers. Some tow trucks use the classic hook design to pick cars up from the bottom, lift the front portion onto their truck, and drive with the rear wheels of the towed vehicle on the road. The hook is often part of a large apparatus that can move and extend. These moving parts create a risk for nearby pedestrians, as well as other tow truck workers. The operator of the truck must use reasonable care when operating the hook, or else might be liable for any injuries they cause. In a rear-end collision, even without towing another car, this hook could be a liability. The hook apparatus may be positioned in such a way that if a car rear-ends the tow truck, the hook arm could shatter its front windshield, causing injuries within the car.
Flat-bed tow trucks still require operating a large piece of moving machinery. The other workers loading the truck may be at risk of amputation or crushing injuries if their hand or arm becomes stuck in the bed. These injuries might entitle them to compensation.
Further, since tow trucks are most often used to carry other vehicles that are disabled or damaged in a crash, these cars might be a danger on the road. If the car is improperly secured, it could come loose during travel, causing an accident. Even if the car is properly secured, if it is too severely damaged, pieces of the car might dislodge and fall off the back of the truck. This could cause drivers to crash while avoiding the debris.
Compensation for Tow Truck Accidents
If you or a loved one was injured by the negligent loading or unloading of a tow truck, or in an auto accident involving a tow truck, you might be entitled to compensation from the tow truck operator and their employer. In many states, the actions of an employee are also the actions of the company that hires them. This means that the towing company that owns the tow truck and hired the driver might be held responsible for your injuries.
In order for this to work, most states require that the negligent driver was currently working within the scope of their employment when they caused your injuries. Any injuries during the loading, unloading, or driving of the tow truck would be within the scope of the operator’s employment and should allow you to seek compensation from the tow truck company.
The tow truck company might also be liable in its own right if it hired bad drivers. Hiring operators with a history of bad driving, DUI, or other problems may make the towing company liable to you for their bad driver’s accidents. Further, if you work for a towing company and were injured by your negligent coworker’s driving or operation of the towing machinery, you might be entitled to compensation from your employer or from your state’s workers’ compensation program.
National Trucking Accident Attorneys Representing Tow Truck Drivers
If you were injured or lost a loved one to an accident involving a tow truck, talk to an attorney. You might be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call the Reiff Law Firm’s The Truck Accident Team today at (215) 246-9000 for a free consultation on your case.