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Can You Sue a Tow Truck Company for Damaging your Vehicle?

Posted in Our Blog on June 11, 2019

Having your truck towed can typically be a stressful event. Parking violations, car breakdowns, and getting your car impounded carry additional stress for the typical car driver to process. Drivers don’t generally consider the possibility that their car would be damaged while it’s being towed, but accidents do happen. The property damages sustained further add to the costs accrued from the initial tow – so what can a driver do?

Can I Sue a Tow Truck Company?

You can absolutely sue a towing company if they damaged your car in transit. However, it is not always easy to follow through with this legal process. Car damage that results from towing falls under the personal injury claims umbrella, which will ultimately end up in small claims court. Personal injury claims operate under negligence law, meaning your lawsuit is based in the fact that improper, or negligent, towing practices caused property damage.

As the claimant, you receive the burden of proof. The court tasks you with proving that the tow truck driver and/or company are at fault in damaging your car. You must provide evidence that supports the following claims that build your argument:

  • The towing company, including the driver, owed you a duty. This duty would be the towing service that they provide. One crucial detail to include is that the tow company had a duty to provide their services without damage or injury.
  • The towing company and/or driver breached this responsibility to safely tow your car to its destination. This could be the result of several factors: improper maintenance of tow truck components, improper driving of the vehicle (in the case of accidents), or improper towing practices overall.
  • The act of breaching their duty directly resulted in the tow company damaging your car. You must provide evidence that traces your car’s damage back to tower negligence.

The last burden of proof can be difficult, especially if you’re not there to verify the company’s towing practices. However, several forms of car damage are common in terms of tow-related damage. Take pictures and record all damage, but pay close attention to damage of your car’s windshields, tires, and bumpers along with any large scratches near the tow-site on your car.

What Is Sovereign Immunity?

Sovereign immunity is a benefit that government/city-owned vehicle companies exercise. All vehicles associated with these companies can dismiss lawsuits filed against them under sovereign immunity. It is likely that the tow company will simply dismiss your claim unless your claim has truthful grounds in tow-related fault.

Additionally, you should be wary about the statute of limitations surrounding file time for government-owned vehicles, which is typically one month from the date of the incident. When dealing with city and government-owned entities, it is best to remain on top of your paperwork and evidence documentation.

If the tow company does deny your claim, you can, at the very least, go through your auto insurance to repair your car. You can apply the evidence gathered for your personal injury claim to insurance claims.

Lawyer Involvement

In any case, it is beneficial to hire a New Orleans car accident lawyer familiar with law surround tow-related property damage. Pursuing legal advice will not only educate you about your options and rights as car owner but will also strengthen your evidence gathering tools. A lawyer will help you file your claim and complete the associated task of putting together your evidence. This can be extremely helpful in towing cases, as an experienced lawyer might see evidence of tow-related damage that the car owner might have missed.

If you have the evidence to back up your claim, you can sue a tow truck company for damaging your car. However, exercise caution in knowing that you will need to provide proof that specifically relates your car’s damage back to the tow truck company. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional lawyer – this could mean the difference between your claim’s success or failure.