New York Tow Truck Accident Attorneys
Tow trucks are bigger, heavier, and take up more space on highways and roads than cars. Although they are meant to help smaller cars in a tough bind, their sheer size has the potential to be a hazard to other motorists on the road. Getting into an accident with a tow truck can cause serious damage to accident victims and their vehicles.
If you were hurt as a result of a tow truck accident, or know someone who was, the lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy are here to help. Call 212-736-5300 or fill out our online contact form for a FREE, no-obligation consultation with a qualified attorney today. We fight aggressively for injury victims and have recovered a number of record-breaking results, including $110 million and $32 million jury verdicts. Each year since 2012, no other law firm in New York attained more case results exceeding $1,000,000 than Block O’Toole & Murphy.
Common Causes of Tow Truck Accidents
Tow trucks are designed to pull other vehicles. They are typically bulkier, heavier, and have equipment attached to the flatbed of their truck that can lift and haul other cars. The larger size and weight of tow trucks is one of the factors that can contribute to collisions, but there are many different reasons tow truck accidents occur. Some of the most common causes of tow truck accidents include:
- Distracted driving: If the tow truck driver is not paying close attention to the road, they could fail to adjust their speed if a car slows down for traffic ahead, or miss a foreign object in the road and cause a crash.
- Driving under the influence: Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol impairs a driver’s ability to focus and clearly see the road. This can be even more dangerous to other motorists when the driver’s vehicle is a large, heavy tow truck.
- Improperly secured loads: If the tow truck is carrying a heavy material in the flatbed of their truck or the vehicle being towed isn’t secured properly, it can slide off into traffic and cause accidents.
- Driver fatigue: If the driver has been on the road for too long, they may become extremely tired, which can lead to poor driving and serious collisions.
- Mechanical failure: If the tow truck has a mechanical issue while on the road, such as an engine failure or an unexpected popped tire, it may cause an accident in the middle of traffic.
- Inclement weather: Poor weather conditions can be extremely dangerous for these heavier trucks. Icy roads can cause tires to slip and slide on the road, bright sunlight can reflect off other cars or road signs and cause temporary blindness, and snowy conditions can limit visibility and make roads slippery.
- Lack of experience: Depending on the size and weight of the tow truck, it can be considered a commercial vehicle, which means the driver would have to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate it. A CDL requires more training than an average driver’s license. A tow truck driver who does not have a CDL, does not know how to properly operate their vehicle, or has little experience on the road, is a danger to other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.
- Reckless driving: Some tow truck drivers may choose to drive in a manner that puts other peoples’ lives at risk. Actions that fall under this category include driving over the speed limit, tailgating, and changing lanes improperly, among other traffic violations.
If you have been in a crash involving a tow truck, it is best to speak with a lawyer who is well-versed in personal injury law. To reach out to the truck accident lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy, please call 212-736-5300.
Types of Tow Truck Accidents
There are several types of accidents that can occur when you collide with a tow truck. These include the following:
- Sideswipes: These accidents generally occur when two cars are driving on the same road and the right side of one vehicle scrapes against the left side of the other vehicle. When a tow truck arrives to help a driver, they tend to pull off to the side of the road. If the tow truck driver isn’t being careful, they may sideswipe the motorist’s vehicle and cause damage or injuries.
- Rear-end accident: Because of their larger size, tow trucks may take longer to come to a complete stop; if they have to stop short, don’t give themselves enough time to brake, or don’t notice the car in front of them slowing down, they may cause a rear-end collision.
- Blind spot accident: Tow trucks are bigger and broader than other cars, causing them to have a larger blind spot than other vehicles. If a tow truck driver fails to check his blind spot when merging or turning, it can be dangerous for other vehicles on the road.
- T-bone collisions: A T-bone collision occurs when the front of one car crashes into the side of another. These accidents often happen at intersections when one driver fails to stop at a stoplight or stop sign. If a tow truck driver rushing to assist another driver recklessly drives through a stoplight and collides with another vehicle, the impact of the tow truck hitting a smaller car can lead to severe injuries.
- Head-on collisions: A head-on collision happens when two cars crash into each other from opposite directions. If a tow truck driver is traveling on one side of the road and turns into the opposite lane to assist another vehicle but fails to check for other cars, it could result in a collision.
These different types of accidents can happen with any tow truck, but there are a few different kinds of tow trucks that operate daily. The type of tow truck can sometimes contribute to the kind of accident they are involved in. Different tow truck varieties include:
- Flatbed tow truck: The flatbed tow truck is currently the preferred method of towing. A trailer or truck is attached to a flatbed on its rear to transport vehicles from one location to the other. These allow room for the truck to transport large, broader cars as well as smaller ones. Flatbed trucks easily pull vehicles that can still roll on their own wheels.
- Hook and chain tow truck: The hook and chain tow truck is an older type of truck. The tow truck driver uses a hook to latch onto the damaged vehicle and a chain to attach it to the truck itself. The truck can then drag the vehicle and pull the car behind it. Although hook and chain tow trucks are highly effective, they are more likely to damage the vehicles they haul. While pulling the cars to safety, the bottom of the vehicle may be dragged along the road, causing damage to the vehicle.
- Integrated tow truck: Integrated tow trucks can handle the bigger and heavier jobs, such as other trucks or buses. These trucks have a boom and wheel lift combination system that makes it easy for tow truck drivers to quickly pick up the vehicle. These types of trucks are perfect for lifting cars out of spaces that they weren’t supposed to park in, for example.
- Boom truck: A boom truck can come in handy for more serious accidents or for moving a seriously damaged vehicle. These trucks have a long arm, or “boom” that extends out the back and can reach into ponds, lakes, and deeper holes. The boom truck has a sling on the end that cradles the vehicle as it is lifted out of its place.
- Wheel-lift tow truck: A wheel-lift tow truck is equipped with a metal yoke that fits underneath the front or back wheels of the vehicle it is lifting. They use a hydraulic lift system to hoist the front or rear end of the vehicle off the ground.
Despite the variety, all tow trucks involve some type of chain and hoist system. Accidents can occur if these chains aren’t properly secured to the vehicle they’re lifting, potentially causing damage to the vehicle or even causing it to fall.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
In a tow truck accident lawsuit, multiple parties may be held responsible for the collision. They can include:
- Tow truck driver: It is possible the accident was due to driver negligence. The tow truck driver could have been under the influence, was driving while distracted, speeding, or had improperly secured the truck’s load, among other issues.
- Towing company: If the accident happened because of a mechanical failure, the towing company can be held liable for improper maintenance of the truck. The company is responsible for checking each of its trucks and performing repairs when needed––if they failed to do so and the accident was caused by a mechanical issue, the towing company could be at fault. Additionally, if the towing company hired a driver that had a history of reckless or unsafe driving, they could be found liable for negligently allowing this driver on the road.
- Tow truck manufacturer: Accidents can occur due to tow truck mechanical failures or issues with the vehicle itself. The tow truck manufacturer may be held liable if the accident happened due to improper maintenance of the tow truck or recalled parts.
Every accident is different, and liability can be complex. If you were in an accident that you believe occurred as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is best to speak with an attorney who is knowledgeable about personal injury law. Dial 212-736-5300 to speak with a lawyer today.
Tow Truck Accidents: A Case Study
The lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy obtained a $1.5 million settlement for a 33-year-old mother and security guard who was crossing the street in the Bronx when she was hit by an NYPD tow truck. The tow truck driver was backing up and claimed that he did not see our client prior to hitting her. Witnesses at the crash had to alert the driver that he had struck our client.
She was taken to Lincoln Hospital where she stayed for three days, receiving treatment for non-displaced cervical fractures and a tear in the medial meniscus of her left knee. The orthopedic surgeon who treated our client testified in court that her injuries were permanent and disabling. Our client also suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and endured frequent flashbacks of the accident in her daily life. She sued for economic damages for future medical needs and future healthcare, as well as her lost wages during the time of the accident and her inability to work after the crash. Our lawyers were able to prove that her injuries had lasting effects on her life, and were able to secure $1,500,000 for her.
Legal Action That Yields Considerable Results
The attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy have dedicated their careers to fighting for victims of serious physical or emotional injuries. Our attorneys have obtained significant results for victims injured in serious accidents. Notable truck accident verdicts and settlements include:
- $14 million verdict for a motorcyclist in Long Island who was hit by a truck and ultimately lost his leg due to injuries sustained from the crash
- $6 million settlement for a passenger riding on a city bus when the bus hit another vehicle, causing shoulder, knee, and spinal injuries
- $5.5 million settlement for a 43 year-old man who was driving on a road when a semi-truck sideswiped his car and resulted in our client sustaining serious spinal injuries
- $5 million settlement for survivors in a wrongful death case after a mother was killed when the driver of a privately-owned truck suffered from a seizure and lost control of his vehicle
- $3.5 million settlement for a 47-year-old NYCTA bus driver who was seriously injured after being rear-ended by an NYC sanitation truck in Brooklyn
- $3 million settlement for a driver hurt in a collision with a tractor trailer in Brooklyn that left him permanently disabled
- $3 million settlement for a 78-year-old woman who was riding a motorized scooter in the bike lane and was hit by a truck illegally driving in that lane
- $2.625 million settlement for the family of a couple who was violently hit and killed by a tractor-trailer
- $2.5 million settlement for a woman who sustained leg injuries after being hit by a large truck in a crosswalk
- $1.5 million settlement for a woman who was hit by a tow truck while walking in the Bronx
The lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy are ready to speak with you about your accident and next steps. Call 212-736-5300 or fill out our online contact form to speak with an attorney today. Serving New York and New Jersey.