At some point, you have probably shared the road with a tow truck or even required a tow. Tow trucks provide a valuable service to the community. They haul vehicles that have broken down on the road, have sustained major damage in a collision, or are otherwise inoperable.
While tow trucks serve an important function, they can also contribute to severe accidents. Even without the added weight of a vehicle being hauled, tow trucks can weigh 10,000 pounds or more on their own. The size of these large vehicles makes them difficult for tow truck drivers to maneuver safely.
If you or a loved one has been harmed in a tow truck accident, contact Judd Shaw Injury Law today. Our experienced personal injury lawyers can offer legal guidance and help you secure the financial compensation that you are entitled to receive.
Schedule your free case assessment with a tow truck lawyer today. Complete the online form or call us at 866-909-6894 anytime, day or night. Our law firm is here to help.
Driving Challenges Unique to Tow Trucks
Tow trucks vary in size, shape, and weight. Common types of tow trucks include hook and chain, integrated, flatbed, and wheel lift. Light-duty trucks can haul vehicles that weigh 11,000 pounds or less, while heavy-duty trucks are capable of hauling fully-loaded semis that can weigh over 80,000 pounds.
The following are hazards unique to tow trucks:
- Challenging maneuverability: Due to their size and weight, tow trucks are not able to turn and stop as easily as passenger vehicles. Turning, changing lanes, and navigating traffic are much more difficult for a tow truck. In addition, the added weight of hauling a vehicle can make tow trucks unstable, increasing the risk of a rollover.
- Reduced visibility: Tow trucks are wider and longer than other vehicles, especially when hauling another vehicle. This makes it difficult for other vehicles to see around them. Moreover, tow truck drivers have larger blind spots, making lane changes and merges more challenging.
- Potential for roll-away: Tow trucks present the risk of the vehicle they are towing becoming loosened, dislodged, and rolling away. Most of these accidents tend to occur when the towed vehicle is being loaded onto the truck. A rollaway accident can cause severe injuries and endanger the lives of pedestrians and vehicles behind the tow truck.
Common Causes of Tow Truck Collisions
Tow trucks can cause catastrophic injuries and damage. These accidents occur for a variety of reasons.
The following are some common causes of tow truck accidents:
- Distracted driving: Tow truck drivers may face distractions while driving. These may include communicating with dispatch, programming or reading the GPS, talking on the phone, texting, eating, or other distractions.
- Fatigue while driving: Tow truck drivers often work long shifts and irregular hours. They respond to calls at all times of the day or night. Exhaustion can cause dangerous symptoms such as tunnel vision, disorientation, decreased response time, and lessened reflexes.
- Inadequate training: Depending on the type of tow truck you drive and the state you reside in, there are different licensing requirements for tow truck drivers. Towing companies must ensure the drivers that work for them have experience driving, loading, and hauling vehicles.
- Speeding: The faster a tow truck driver hauls and delivers a vehicle, the sooner he or she can get onto the next call or back home to rest. In such a situation, it’s tempting to speed or overdrive road conditions. Speeding is always dangerous, but the risk is increased when the tow truck is hauling a vehicle.
- Unsecured cargo: If a tow truck driver fails to properly secure the vehicle to be hauled, it can become dislodged during transit. This is especially dangerous when the truck is traveling at a high speed. The dislodged vehicle essentially becomes a flying projectile, endangering everyone in its pathway.
- Driving under the influence: In New Jersey, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol level is .08 or higher. When driving a commercial vehicle, such as a tow truck, it is illegal to drive if your BAC is higher than .04. Drugs and alcohol affect a driver’s judgment, depth perception, vision, coordination, and other skills.
- Improper maintenance: Trucking companies and their employees have an obligation to ensure that the tow trucks they use are well maintained and safe to be out on the road. This includes checking that the cable and attachment mechanisms are secure, testing the brakes and brake lights, and making sure the tires on the truck have enough tread and are properly inflated.
Who is Liable for a Tow Truck Accident?
One of the first steps in recovering compensation after a tow truck accident is determining who is liable for the accident. The party you pursue compensation from could be based on the employment of the truck driver, insurance coverage, truck ownership, and other factors.
A tow truck accident lawyer will be able to investigate your accident, identify all liable parties, and pursue all avenues of compensation.
After being injured in a tow truck accident, you could recover compensation from:
- The tow truck driver: A driver could be held liable for your injuries if he or she improperly secured the load, drove while distracted, drove too fast for road or weather conditions, or otherwise acted negligently.
- The tow truck company: A company could be found liable for failing to perform proper maintenance if a mechanical issue caused the accident. In addition, if the company hired a driver who had a history of reckless or unsafe driving, they could also be held accountable for driver error.
- The manufacturer of a defective part: If equipment or mechanical failure is to blame for the accident, you could hold the manufacturer responsible for damages.
A Tow Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You Collect the Damages You Deserve
At Judd Shaw Injury Law, we believe that accident victims should not have to pay the financial price for someone else’s negligence. We fight for the fair compensation our clients deserve.
Your tow truck accident settlement may include compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Loss of future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Wrongful death
Contact Us to Schedule a Free Consultation Today
Were you or someone you love harmed in an accident involving a tow truck? We understand that injuries sustained in an accident can be life-altering. The compassionate personal injury lawyers at our law firm are ready to get to work for you today. Our tow truck accident attorneys represent clients throughout New Jersey.
We can evaluate your case, answer any questions you may have, file your claim, negotiate with the insurance company, and help you recover the maximum compensation you are entitled to. Our law firm offers all of our clients our No Fee Guarantee®, which means you do not pay us anything unless we recover compensation for you.
Do not miss out on your right to financial recovery. Schedule a free case consultation at a time and place convenient to you. Contact us 24/7 at 1-866-909-6894 or complete the online form to schedule an appointment today.