Tow trucks are associated with accidents by many because they are often used to transport vehicles that have sustained significant damage. People are used to seeing these vehicles at these scenes. But tow trucks are actually often involved in accidents themselves, accounting for a large percentage of truck accidents.
The type of accident can depend upon the details of the truck. Tow trucks come in a variety of types, including:
- Hook and chain tow trucks, where the vehicle being towed rolls behind the tow truck, secured by a hook at the front of the vehicle
- Wheel lift, where the front tires of the towed vehicle are placed on the tow truck with the back wheels dragging behind
- Flatbed trucks, where a lift is used to place the vehicle being towed onto the bed of the truck
Tow truck regulations differ from state to state, as do the qualification requirements for drivers. The city of New York requires a special license to operate a tow truck, and companies operating tow trucks for profit must have a specific company license. These requirements are in place to limit the risk of accidents occurring by insuring both the operator of the truck and the company employing the driver to meet minimum safety requirements.
Inexperienced or poorly trained drivers can still creep into the system, and even licensed companies do not always perform proper inspections and maintenance. Driver error is a factor in may tow truck accidents, as is an improperly maintained vehicle. Dependent upon the cause of the accident, the driver, company, or both might be liable, particularly if the company did not ensure the driver was safe.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a tow truck, determining whether or not the driver was properly licensed and trained is important, as is looking into whether or not the tow truck company followed all applicable regulations. Please, consult with an experienced lawyer regarding your case.