Chattanooga Tow Truck Accident Attorneys

Representing Victims of Tow Truck Accidents in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama

We rely on tow trucks to retrieve our vehicles when they break down or are totaled in car accidents. While these commercial vehicles are not typically as large as tractor-trailers, their size and weight do make them a formidable force that can cause catastrophic injuries in a collision. When you are injured in a tow truck wreck that was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation under the law, but you will likely need legal professionals who understand how to strategically navigate commercial vehicle cases. 

At The Hamilton Firm, we offer aggressive, effective, and ethical representation to individuals and families harmed by tow trucks in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. Having secured over $100 million in settlements and verdicts, our trial-tested team has a proven track record of success, and our Chattanooga tow truck accident lawyers want to put our many decades of combined legal experience to work for you. We endeavor to provide an exceptionally personal level of service and attention, which is why you will work closely with one of our attorneys throughout our handling of your case. Obtaining an optimal outcome is our top priority, and our legal professionals will leverage our extensive resources and detail-oriented approach in our fight to maximize your recovery. 

Schedule a free case evaluation by calling (423) 454-3288 or contacting us online. Our firm does not charge any legal fees unless we win or facilitate a favorable outcome. 

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Trucking and car accidents can take a toll on your life. Our attorneys are here to help you get the compensation you deserve.

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If your tow truck accident injuries prevent you from coming to our office, one of our attorneys can come to your home or the hospital. Contact us online or call (423) 454-3288 to schedule an initial consultation today.

What is a Tow Truck?

A tow truck is a specialized vehicle designed for towing and transporting other vehicles. It is equipped with a towing apparatus, typically a winch or a crane, that allows it to lift and tow vehicles that are disabled, impounded, or otherwise in need of transportation. Tow trucks are commonly used to move vehicles involved in accidents, breakdowns, or illegally parked vehicles. 

Here are some of the most common types of tow trucks:

  • Flatbed Tow Truck: Features a flat, level bed that can be hydraulically inclined to make it easy to load and unload vehicles. Ideal for transporting damaged or non-operational vehicles.
  • Hook and Chain Tow Truck: Uses chains and hooks to secure the towed vehicle. Less commonly used today due to the potential for causing damage to the towed vehicle.
  • Wheel-Lift Tow Truck: Lifts the front or rear wheels of the towed vehicle using a metal yoke or cradle. Offers a compromise between the hook and chain tow trucks and flatbed tow trucks.
  • Integrated Tow Truck: Combines elements of both flatbed and wheel-lift tow trucks. Features a single unit with an integrated lifting mechanism and towing platform.
  • Boom Tow Truck: Equipped with an adjustable boom winch to lift and tow vehicles. Often used for recovering vehicles from ditches or other challenging locations.
  • Rotator Tow Truck: Features a rotating crane that provides additional lifting and towing capabilities. Useful for handling larger and more complex recovery situations.
  • Off-Road Tow Truck: Designed for towing vehicles in off-road or rugged terrains. Equipped with features like four-wheel drive and specialized suspension.
  • Slide Tow Truck: Utilizes a hydraulic or mechanical mechanism to slide the towed vehicle onto the towing platform. Commonly used for towing vehicles with low ground clearance.

Common Causes of Tow Truck Accidents

Tow trucks are designed to make driving safer by efficiently removing inoperable or illegally parked cars from busy roadways, including highways like the I-75. The reality is that these trucks are not immune from getting into accidents themselves on the way to retrieve a vehicle or after picking one up. In many instances, these collisions will be the result of one or more parties’ negligence. 

Our Chattanooga tow truck accident attorneys are prepared to assist you if your wreck was caused by:

  • An inexperienced driver. Only licensed and trained drivers should operate tow trucks. They should also be familiar with how to drive their specific vehicle, as there are several types of tow trucks, including flatbed trucks, wheel-lift trucks, integrated trucks, and hook-and-chain trucks.
  • Excessive speeding. When a tow truck driver speeds, they may attempt to turn too fast or be forced to abruptly stop, which can cause an underride accident if the vehicle behind the truck does not have adequate time to stop. 
  • Improper turning. Even a tow truck that is not transporting a vehicle needs more space and time to safely complete turns. This is especially true when a vehicle is affixed or aboard, as turning too quickly or sharply can trigger a rollover or even cause the immobile vehicle to become untethered. 
  • Improper loading of a vehicle. A vehicle must be correctly loaded onto or affixed to the tow truck. Improper loading can result in the vehicle coming loose during a trip, upsetting the balance of the truck, or even sending the vehicle careening into traffic. 
  • Overloading: Overloading the tow truck or exceeding its weight capacity can affect the vehicle's stability and handling. This may lead to accidents, especially during turns or sudden maneuvers.
  • Fatigued driving. A tow truck driver’s work is repetitive and exhausting over time. If a tow truck driver does not observe hours of service regulations and take mandatory rest breaks after a certain number of consecutive hours worked, they are more likely to lose focus and make damaging errors.
  • Distracted driving. Tow truck drivers must devote their full attention to their surroundings when traveling to a vehicle, affixing it to their truck, and transporting it to its destination. Texting while driving or becoming distracted in any other manner will increase the odds of an accident. 
  • Failure to Obey Traffic Laws: Tow truck drivers must adhere to traffic laws and regulations. Failure to obey speed limits, traffic signals, or other rules of the road can lead to accidents.
  • Intoxicated driving. A tow truck driver operating their vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is far more likely to drive recklessly. 
  • Equipment failure. If the tow truck is not regularly inspected or maintained, it may experience a tire blowout or brake system failure at a crucial moment, potentially triggering an otherwise avoidable crash.
  • Inadequate Training: Tow truck drivers need specialized training to operate their vehicles safely. Lack of proper training or experience can contribute to accidents, especially in situations where towing requires specific skills and knowledge.

Who Is Liable for a Tow Truck Accident?

Liability for any kind of commercial truck accident tends to be more complex than a typical auto accident. Parties in addition to or other than the tow truck driver may be at fault, and you will need a seasoned legal advocate to help you make sense of the likely multiple layers of ownership and insurance coverage. Our team at The Hamilton Firm works quickly but meticulously, interviewing witnesses and preserving crucial evidence that will be used to build your case. We will leave no stone unturned in our effort to identify all responsible parties who can be held accountable through legal action. 

Depending on the cause of the accident and other factors, one or more of the following parties may be liable for a tow truck accident:

  • Tow Truck Driver: The driver of the tow truck may be held liable if their negligence or actions contributed to the accident. This could include factors like speeding, distracted driving, or violating traffic laws.
  • Towing Company or Broker: The towing company or broker that dispatches the tow truck may be held liable for the actions of their employees. They may be responsible if inadequate training, supervision, or hiring practices contributed to the accident.
  • Owner of the Tow Truck: The owner of the tow truck could be held liable, especially if the accident resulted from poor maintenance or a mechanical failure that the owner was aware of but failed to address.
  • Tow Truck or Vehicle Component Manufacturer: If the accident was caused by a defect in the tow truck or its components, the manufacturer might be held liable for product liability.
  • Parties Responsible for Vehicle Maintenance, Repairs, and Inspections: Individuals or entities responsible for maintaining and repairing the tow truck may be held liable if negligence in maintenance contributed to the accident. This could include mechanics, maintenance crews, or other service providers.
  • Insurance Companies: Insurance companies for various parties involved, including the tow truck driver, towing company, or other relevant entities, may be responsible for covering damages. The specifics would depend on the terms of the insurance policies.

What Is the Deadline for Filing a Tow Truck Accident Lawsuit?

You must take swift action in the aftermath of a tow truck accident, as each state enforces deadlines for how long you have to file lawsuits in these cases. If you wait too long, you will be barred from recovering any compensation, no matter the strength of your claim. 

Tennessee gives tow truck accident victims just one year from the date of the collision to file a lawsuit. Georgia and Alabama give victims two years from the date of the accident to start the legal process.

Accidents sustained in tow truck accidents are sometimes fatal. In Tennessee, parties with standing have one year from the date a victim passed away to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. Parties with standing in Georgia and Alabama have two years from the date of death to initiate legal action. 

What Damages Can I Recover for Tow Truck Accident Injuries?

In a successful tow truck accident lawsuit, you can obtain compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are compensatory damages, which are expenses you incurred because of the accident. Non-economic damages are meant to financially compensate you for difficult to quantify impacts of your injuries. 

Our Chattanooga tow truck accident lawyers will stop at nothing to get you maximum compensation for all losses, including:

  • Past, current, and future medical bills
  • Lost income and earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Loss of consortium
  • Ongoing or permanent disability
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
Over $100 Million Recovered for Our Clients

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