Were you injured in a tow truck accident in Texas? If so, you could be entitled to recover compensation for the medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other losses you suffered as a result of the accident. You should not have to pay out-of-pocket when you’re hurt because of someone else’s negligence.
The Texas tow truck accident attorneys at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. have the knowledge, skills, and resources to help you hold the at-fault driver accountable for their actions. Tow truck accident cases can be complex because of the various parties that may be involved, but we have extensive experience helping victims of these accidents seek the financial recovery they deserve.
Contact us today for a free, no-risk initial consultation to discuss your case with our attorneys and review your legal options. To best serve your needs, we have offices located throughout Texas, including Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi South Side, Brownsville, McAllen, San Antonio, Houston, and Ft. Worth.
What Causes Tow Truck Accidents?
Like other truck accidents, tow truck accidents can have a variety of causes. Most of them, however, relate to driver negligence.
Some of the most common causes of tow truck accidents in Texas include:
- Driver fatigue – Tow truck drivers work long days and can easily become fatigued if they ignore the FMCSA’s hours of service regulations or their tips to prevent fatigued driving. Fatigued tow truck drivers might experience delayed response times and might not be able to properly assess traffic situations. Sometimes, fatigued tow truck drivers even doze off behind the wheel, which can lead to terrible accidents.
- Drunk or intoxicated driving – Drunk or intoxicated driving can lead to devastating tow truck accidents. Tow truck drivers who operate their vehicle while intoxicated may experience impaired judgment, an inability to focus on the road, and a delayed reaction time. If traffic conditions suddenly change, an impaired tow truck driver may not be able to respond in time to prevent an accident. It’s worth noting that even some types of prescription drugs can cause sedation, which makes them dangerous to consume before getting on the road.
- Distracted driving – Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of traffic-related accidents in the United States. Tow truck drivers can become distracted when they take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or focus off the task of driving. Common driving distractions include texting, talking on the phone, eating and drinking, adjusting the radio, inputting information into a GPS device, daydreaming, reaching for an item that fell, and more. Tow truck drivers who get distracted by other activities can easily cause accidents with other motorists, bicyclists, or pedestrians.
- Reckless driving – Some tow truck drivers engage in reckless driving behaviors that put other motorists at risk. Some common reckless driving behaviors include speeding, driving too fast for conditions, unsafe lane changes, swerving, road rage, aggressive driving, and more. Speeding, in particular, can be dangerous since it increases the risk of a serious crash. When towing other vehicles, tow trucks need more time and distance to come to a complete stop.
- Mechanical defects – In some instances, mechanical defects can cause tow truck accidents, such as the brakes going out or a hitch failure.
Other possible causes of tow truck accidents include defective lights, inexperienced drivers, tire blowouts, poor vehicle maintenance, reduced visibility, hazardous weather conditions, and more.
Pinpointing the precise cause of a tow truck accident isn’t always straightforward, and in most cases, a thorough investigation is needed to determine the facts of the crash.
Who Is Responsible for a Tow Truck Accident?
If you are hit by a tow truck, it might seem obvious who the at-fault party is: the tow truck driver. In most cases, that’s true. Tow truck drivers can be negligent in a number of ways that make them liable for accidents. However, tow truck drivers aren’t the only potentially responsible parties.
Parties that can be held responsible for tow truck accidents include:
- The tow truck driver – In most cases, the tow truck driver is responsible for any accidents they cause. If the driver was distracted by texting, for example, then they would be liable for the accident. Similarly, if a driver failed to abide by FMCSA guidelines and caused an accident due to fatigue, that would be considered negligent, and they could be held responsible.
- The tow truck company – In some cases, the tow truck company may be at least partly liable for any accidents that occur. For example, the tow truck company could be responsible if they failed to do their due diligence when they hired the driver, such as conducting a proper background check and ensuring the driver had the appropriate experience. They could also be at fault if they failed to perform proper maintenance and inspections on the truck prior to the accident.
- Parts manufacturers – If mechanical defects caused an accident, such as bad brakes or a bad hitch, then the manufacturer of those defective parts could potentially be held liable for the accident.
To determine liability, you’ll need to demonstrate how the at-fault party was negligent and how that led to the accident. For example, if the driver was texting at the time of the accident, you could use witness testimony and cell phone records to show that the driver was distracted and therefore responsible for the accident.
Trying to prove liability on your own can be challenging, which is why you should consult with an experienced tow truck accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident.
Tow Accident Injuries
Tow truck accidents can cause devastating and even fatal injuries. Some common injuries suffered by victims of tow truck accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries – Also referred to as TBIs, traumatic brain injuries usually occur when the victim sustains a violent blow to the head. This often happens when occupants of a motor vehicle hit their heads on the dashboard during a collision. TBIs can range from minor concussions to severe hematomas, which require immediate emergency intervention.
- Spinal cord injuries – Spinal cord injuries can be particularly debilitating since the spinal cord is the central conduit for messages from the brain to the rest of the nervous system. Depending on the severity of the injury and where the spinal cord injury occurs, paralysis can result.
- Back injuries – Common back injuries in tow truck accidents include back strains and sprains, pinched nerves, slipped discs, and fractured vertebrae.
- Internal injuries – Many tow truck accident victims suffer internal injuries such as a ruptured spleen, liver, or kidneys. Lungs can also potentially be punctured by broken ribs.
- Fractures – Broken bones are common injuries in tow truck accidents and often occur in the arms, legs, elbows, hips, shoulders, wrists, and ribs. These injuries sometimes require surgery, and rehabilitative care may be needed as well.
- Burns – If fuel ignites a fire in the crash or if crash victims are exposed to toxic chemicals, they could suffer burn injuries. Burns can cause permanent, life-altering disfigurement.
Other common tow truck accident injuries include cuts, scrapes, lacerations, crushed bones, facial injuries, dental injuries, accidental amputation, and more.
Types of Tow Trucks
Several types of tow trucks are commonly used in the industry. They include:
- Boom tow truck – This type of tow truck utilizes an adjustable boom to tow vehicles out of areas where the driver is incapable of moving their car, such as a ditch. They can also tow large commercial trucks.
- Spectacle lift tow truck – Also called wheel lift tow trucks, these trucks utilize a hydraulic system and clamp to lift vehicles up by their front wheels.
- Repo tow truck – Repo tow trucks are a hybrid of the spectacle lift tow truck and the boom tow truck.
- Rollback tow truck – Rollbacks have a hydraulic-powered flatbed that inclines and slides back. The vehicle being towed can then be pulled up onto the bed.
All tow truckers and tow truck companies must abide by Texas’ towing laws.
What Should I Do After a Tow Truck Accident?
After a tow truck accident, there are several steps you should follow to protect your rights and keep yourself safe:
- Seek medical attention – Many insurance companies require you to be seen within 72 hours of the accident, so don’t put this off, even if you think your injuries are minor.
- Gather documents – Maintain a file with all of your medical records, hospital bills, other expenses, and any evidence you collected at the scene, including photos and contact information. You should also obtain a copy of the police report from the accident, as this report will contain information that may help your case.
- Keep a pain journal – Keep a daily record of your physical pain and psychological state. Your attorney can consult this document to help you quantify losses for pain and suffering.
- Don’t post on social media – Don’t talk about the accident on social media or in any other forum until your case is resolved. Anything you say or admit publicly could be used against you.
- Consult with an attorney – You should contact a dedicated truck accident attorney right away. Your attorney will have the resources to thoroughly investigate the accident, gather and preserve evidence to support your case, identify all liable parties, and negotiate a settlement on your behalf. If settlement talks with the insurer fall through, your attorney will fight for your right to compensation in court.
Contact a Tow Truck Accident Lawyer
Were you injured in a tow truck accident in Texas? If so, contact Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. today. We have what it takes to help you pursue the compensation you are rightfully entitled to. We will handle every aspect of your case for you while you focus on your recovery. Reach out today for a free consultation.