Tow Truck Accident Lawyer in Columbia, S.C
Tow trucks provide a vital service for stranded motorists and those who’ve been involved in car accidents. But what happens when one of these vehicles is involved in a collision with a passenger vehicle? If you were injured, you have legal rights in South Carolina.
Tow trucks, like most commercial vehicles, are bigger and heavier than passenger vehicles, so the force of impact in an accident can be violent. Occupants of the smaller vehicle are much more likely than the truck driver to suffer severe and potentially fatal injuries.
After being hit by a tow truck in Columbia, S.C., it’s crucial to speak to an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as you can. For many victims, the resulting medical bills and crash-related losses can stretch the personal or family finances thin.
Fortunately, a Columbia truck accident lawyer can help you seek compensation from the tow truck driver, the trucking company, or another responsible party. Let the attorneys at Stewart Law Offices fight for justice for you. We’re committed to helping people across the Carolinas to get results that count.
Call or visit our contact page to schedule your free consultation.
Types of Tow Trucks
The five most common type of tow trucks you’re likely to see on the road include:
- Flatbed tow trucks: These trucks resemble a standard flatbed truck, except on a tow truck, the bed is hydraulically powered and can incline. Once the bed is at an angle, a car can be loaded onto the bed and delivered to its destination.
- Hook-and-chain tow trucks: Hook-and-chain trucks are very common. When the truck arrives at the accident scene, a chain is hooked around the damaged car’s axle or frame, and then the front of the car is partially raised into the air while its back wheels are towed.
- Wheel lift tow trucks: With wheel lift tow trucks, a steel yoke is placed under one set of wheels to raise the car up for towing. Wheel lift trucks offer a bit more stability than hook-and-chain trucks.
- Boom tow truck: A boom truck is a specialized type of tow truck that is used for situations when a damaged vehicle is in a particularly dangerous position or if the tow truck driver can’t reach the vehicle to attach a chain or wheel lift. These trucks use large boom arms (similar to a crane) to lift a vehicle and load it for transport.
- Oversized tow trucks: These more massive, powerful tow trucks are used when larger vehicles (e.g., tractor trailers, buses, construction vehicles, mobile homes, etc.) need to be towed away from an accident scene.
If a tow truck hit your car, you should consider talking to a lawyer, especially if you or someone else was injured. Your ability to collect compensation will depend on proving that another party was negligent, or careless, in some way. It’s best to start an investigation right away to collect the evidence while it’s fresh.
Types of Tow Truck Accidents in Columbia, S.C.
A tow truck that’s carrying another vehicle weighs much more than the average car and sits higher off the road. That makes it easy for a tow truck to do tremendous damage if it strikes another vehicle. Some of the most common types of tow truck accidents include:
- Rear-end collisions: Tow trucks take much longer to stop than other vehicles because of their additional size and weight. Truckers who tailgate other vehicles run the risk of slamming into them from behind if the car in front needs to stop suddenly.
- Brake failure accidents: Tow trucks need well-maintained brakes to slow down or stop safely. Brake failures are one of the Top 10 causes of truck accidents, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
- Rollover crashes: Tow trucks are top-heavy vehicles, which means drivers need to be very careful when making turns. If drivers don’t take the right precautions, the vehicle could overturn, causing an accident.
- Lost cargo accidents: Any vehicle loaded onto a tow truck must be secured correctly. Otherwise, it can come loose as it’s being transported and collide with another car.
- Tire blowouts: Maintaining control over a tow truck after a tire blowout is challenging for truckers because of their vehicle’s size and limited maneuverability. Drivers must be well-trained to handle emergency situations to avoid hitting someone else.
- Wide turn accidents: Like most large trucks and other commercial vehicles, tow trucks need to make wide-angle turns. If tow truck drivers and other motorists aren’t careful, cars can become trapped between the turning tow truck and the edge of the roadway.
How Do Tow Truck Accidents Happen?
There is no single cause of tow truck crashes. Some accidents the tow truck driver’s fault. Other times, the collision is entirely beyond the driver’s control.
Common causes of tow truck accidents include:
- Lack of driver experience or training
- Reckless driving behaviors, such as speeding
- Driver fatigue
- Driving drunk or under the influence of drugs
- Negligent hiring practices on the part of the trucking company
- Poor maintenance
- Mechanical failures
- Oversized loads
- Improperly secured loads
- Poor road conditions
- Inclement weather
Truck accident victims are often unsure of what to do after they’ve been hurt. A thorough investigation of your accident can determine what happened and who should be held liable. A Columbia tow truck accident lawyer from Stewart Law Offices can do all the deep digging for you.
Injuries from Tow Truck Accidents
People who are involved in tow truck accidents may suffer a wide range of injuries, such as:
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Neck, shoulder, and back trauma
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Cuts and lacerations
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional injuries, such as PTSD
The amount of compensation you could receive for your injuries will depend a variety of factors, especially their severity and who was at fault. Be sure to seek medical treatment right away after an accident to protect your legal claim. Then, talk to a tow truck accident lawyer.
Are Tow Truck Drivers Insured?
Tow trucks must be insured to operate in South Carolina. This insurance generally covers bodily injuries, property damage, and other losses that may occur in a crash. If you are hurt in a tow truck accident in Columbia and the driver is to blame, you may have a valid claim for damages against the trucking company’s insurance carrier.
Who Is Liable for a Tow Truck Accident in Columbia, S.C.?
Determining who is responsible for a Columbia tow truck accident is an essential component of an injury claim. The facts of the crash will be critical to determine liability.
Potential defendants in a tow truck accident claim could be:
- Tow truck driver: Negligent driving behaviors, such as speeding, drunk driving, or distracted driving could cause a trucker to be held liable for a wreck.
- The driver’s employer: Tow truck companies have a responsibility to properly hire, train, and conduct background checks on their drivers to minimize the risk of an accident. These companies are also generally responsible for making sure the tow truck is in good working order. The towing company can be held liable if they fail in any of their duties.
- The tow truck’s manufacturer: Tow trucks are complicated machines. Equipment failures can easily lead to an accident. If there was a manufacturing or design defect with the tow truck that caused your crash, you could have a defective products injury claim.
- Third-party maintenance workers: Outside mechanics and companies are sometimes hired to service tow trucks in a company’s fleet. Failure to make repairs or perform routine maintenance may mean that the third-party company could be held liable for a tow truck crash.
- Other drivers: Some tow truck accidents are caused by other motorists, not the truck driver. If a careless driver is negligent and hits a tow truck, a claim could be brought against that driver.
In South Carolina, victims may be able to recover compensation even if they are partly responsible for the accident that injured them. However, their negligence must not be greater than the negligence of the other party’s.
Contact a Columbia Tow Truck Accident Lawyer at Stewart Law Offices Today
You should never have to suffer silently or pay for an accident that was not your fault. If you’ve been severely injured in a tow truck accident in South Carolina, help is available to you from Stewart Law Offices.
Call today to speak to an experienced Columbia tow truck lawyer. All initial consultations are free.