Tow trucks are a staple of the New York City scene, constantly moving cars from restricted parking spaces and towing damaged vehicles after accidents. The busy schedules and even busier streets mean that tow truck drivers make mistakes from time to time. However, just because vehicle damage happens occasionally does not mean that you have to accept it.

Can I Sue a Towing Company for Damaging My Car?

If a tow truck company damages your vehicle, you may be able to file a claim against them for the damage. One of the first steps you should take is to address the property damage post-tow while discovery is fairly recent. Since it will be your responsibility as the plaintiff to prove the company damaged your vehicle, gathering evidence is crucial. Document everything you can but especially anything that could help you prove the towing company was negligent.

If your car is towed following a car accident, it can be incredibly challenging to prove your car was damaged by the tow company, which is why it is especially important for you to do the following:

  • Take photos of your vehicle after the crash, including images of all visible damage to your car

  • File a police report so you have a third-party account of the damage from the crash

  • Record the towing process, if possible

Towing accidents often cause damage like scratches, dents, tire damage, or alignment problems. If you have questions about proving the tow company caused damage to your vehicle after a car accident, contact an experienced car accident lawyer in New York City.

If your car was towed for another reason other than a car accident, it may be even more challenging to prove the tow company caused the damage because you would likely not have had reason to take photos of your vehicle prior to the tow. It is not impossible to establish fault in these cases, but doing so often requires the legal knowledge and targeted experience of an attorney.

The Towing Company’s Duty of Care

Regardless of the reason why your car was towed, you have certain rights under New York law. The towing company owes a duty of care to each person whose car they tow. This means that they have an obligation to keep the vehicle safe, prevent damage, and protect it from theft. If they fail to fulfill that duty, they are responsible for the damage.

If your personal property is missing from your vehicle when you pick your car up or you notice damage that wasn’t there prior to the tow, notify the company. Many tow companies have a website that you can submit a complaint through, or you can also contact the company via email. It is best to use a form of communication that you can track and document. If you do not receive a response or the company refuses to address the damage they caused, the next step may be filing a lawsuit.

Assessing Your Collision Insurance Coverage

Drivers are not required to carry collision insurance in New York, but if you have this additional coverage, you can file a claim for the damage with your insurance company. Fault is less of a concern if you plan on filing with your insurance company because New York is a no-fault state. However, determining liability for your damages is important if you want to file a lawsuit against the towing company.

Because the tow truck was transporting your vehicle, they owed a duty of care to you. However, that does not mean that the towing company is automatically the at-fault party. Did another vehicle cause an accident while the tow truck was towing your car? This is possible, but in most cases, the tow truck driver is the one responsible for the damage.

If the tow truck driver is at fault for your car’s damage, does that mean you would sue the driver? Not necessarily. Unless the driver is considered an independent contractor or is the owner of the tow company, you would not likely file a lawsuit against them. When a company hires employees, they take on some level of responsibility for their actions. In the majority of cases, the tow truck company will be liable for the damage rather than the driver. This is not always the case, though, so it is a good idea to consult with a car accident attorney in Manhattan who has experience dealing with towing accidents.

Understanding the Employment Status of Tow Truck Drivers with the City

New York City employs some tow truck drivers, which changes the process if your car is damaged. If your car was towed because you illegally parked, and you realize your car has been damaged, you only have 90 days to file a claim. Plus, you will need to establish that New York City owed you a duty of care.

By filing a claim, you can request compensation for any damage the tow truck company or driver caused, including the damage to your vehicle and related costs. For example, if you need to pay for alternate transportation while your car is being repaired, you can include those costs in your claim. Keep in mind that you will need to prove each element of your case in order to successfully receive compensation.

Contact a New York City Accident Lawyer

Working with a lawyer is especially beneficial in complex cases like these. Establishing fault and proving damages is not a straightforward process when tow trucks cause damage to your vehicle. Seitelman Law Offices, P.C. has the experience and knowledge you need to build a solid case. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.