There are over a dozen tow truck companies in the Pittsburgh area, which provide much needed wrecking services after local accidents and breakdowns. While most tow trucks trips go off without a hitch, when an accident does occur, the injuries and damages tend to be quite substantial due to the size and weight of these trucks.
Quality drivers, securement equipment, and safety operations are essential to ensure these trucks do not endanger others on the road. If you or your loved one was injured in a tow truck accident, you will want to speak to a lawyer about obtaining compensation for your losses. For a free consult with a tow truck accident and injury lawyer in Pittsburgh, call Berger and Green at 412-661-1400.
What types of accidents are tow truck involved in?
There are several types of accidents tow trucks can be involved in:
Accidents with other vehicles
Just like other vehicles, tow trucks can collide with other passenger cars in accidents such as head-on collisions, sideswipes, rear-end crashes, rollovers, and multi-car pile-ups. They can also hit pedestrians and cyclists.
Vehicle in tow accidents
Tow trucks can also be involved in accidents where the vehicle being towed causes or is involved in the wreck. This may happen if another vehicle hits the towed vehicle, or if the towed vehicle breaks free and veers into the flow of traffic.
Defective equipment accidents
The tow truck does not even have to be in motion for it to cause injury. In one case, as a man was driving by a parked tow truck that was loading a vehicle, the truck’s securement chain suddenly popped off, flew through the man’s windshield, and struck his chest.
Parked tow truck accidents
Tow truck drivers themselves are in great risk of harm. Passing cars and semi-trucks that are not paying attention often hit tow trucks and drivers on the roadside.
In early August 2016, a tow truck operator was killed on I-81 in Lackawanna County when a passing tractor-trailer crossed a lane of the highway and pinned the tow truck driver against the tow truck, reports 16 WNEP.
What are some common causes of two truck accidents?
One of the most common causes of tow truck accidents is failure to yield right of way. Tow trucks typically park on the side of the road to pick up cars. Then the driver must carefully merge back into traffic with a vehicle in tow. Poor timing, blind spots, and failing to yield right of way makes this a dangerous maneuver.
Other common causes of tow truck accidents include:
- Negligent hiring practices, i.e., hiring drivers that are unqualified or have bad driving records
- Driver inexperience
- Driving recklessly, while intoxicated, or while fatigued
- Improper securement of vehicles in tow (e.g., the tow truck operator may not secure it properly, or the equipment itself may be defective)
- Distracted driving
Who is liable for a tow truck accident?
Any party whose negligence caused or contributed to the tow truck accident can be liable for a victim’s damages. Negligence can come in many forms.
For example, if the tow truck company did not properly maintain its vehicle or equipment and it wound up causing an accident, the victims can file a claim or suit against the towing company. Similarly, if the tow truck equipment or a truck component was defective, then the part manufacturer might be liable.
When it is the tow truck driver’s negligence that causes an accident, liability typically reverts to the tow truck company. This is because Pennsylvania law specifies that employers are vicariously liable for their employees’ actions. So if the tow truck driver failed to yield right of way and caused a crash, victims would pursue damages from the company, not the driver. That is, unless the driver was an independent contractor, a factor which can complicate the case.
To determine who is liable after a tow truck accident and how to best pursue compensation for your losses, consult a Pittsburgh attorney.
How do I prove fault and recover damages?
If you are the one filing a claim or suit, you will have the burden of proof. In other words, in order to win your claim and recover damages, you must be able to prove that the other party was at fault for the accident.
Sometimes, this is easy to establish. For instance, if the driver was intoxicated, the police report, the driver’s arrest, and his breathalyzer results will justify your case.
In other situations, collecting evidence and proving negligence can be more challenging. Your attorney can help you identify and gather evidence that might be useful given your unique circumstances. Examples of evidence commonly used in tow truck accident cases include:
- The police report
- Photos of the scene
- Eyewitness accounts
- Tow truck company records, such as maintenance records, personnel files, etc.
Is there a law firm in Pittsburgh that handles tow truck accident cases?
Berger and Green accepts all types of personal injury cases, including tow truck accidents. Our team of attorneys, who is passionate about helping hurting individuals and families in Pittsburgh, has received recognition in the legal industry for the large settlements and verdicts we obtain for our clients.
We strongly advocate for our clients’ best interests, be it negotiating with insurers and tow truck companies for fuller settlements, or taking cases up with the judge in court and pushing for a verdict our clients’ favor.
We understand the complexities of tow truck accidents and how to conduct investigations to pinpoint and prove liability. Also, when we represent tow truck accident victims, we make sure to take all of their current and future losses into account, illustrate to the insurer or judge how the accident has impacted the person and family as a whole, and then fight for maximum recovery.
By securing the funds our clients need, we free them to focus on healing instead of worrying about how to make ends meet or pay for medical bills.
For a free consultation with a tow truck accident and injury lawyer in Pittsburgh, contact Berger and Green today at 412-661-1400.