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Sacramento Tow Truck Accident Lawyers | Tow Truck Injury Attorneys

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Sacramento Tow Truck Accident Lawyer

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Tow trucks are a common sight on our roads and highways, and when we’re the driver needing a flat tire fixed, a car jump-started, or a disabled auto towed, they can be a welcome sight. Unfortunately, however, tow trucks- like any other vehicle on our roads- can and do become involved in traffic accidents. Given that they are much larger and heavier than the typical passenger vehicles on our roads, accidents involving tow trucks can cause significantly greater damage to the other cars involved.

Common Elements of Tow Truck Accidents

Due to their size and weight, tow trucks will likely cause greater damage to lighter-weight passenger cars and pickup trucks when colliding with them than a smaller vehicle would. They have this in common with larger delivery trucks and tractor-trailer trucks — their greater size makes severe impacts and injuries more likely when collisions occur.

Like other commercial trucks, tow trucks are likely to be covered by much higher liability insurance coverage than private passenger vehicles. Coverage limits of $1 million or more are common.

This combination of greater insurance coverage, a higher likelihood of serious tow truck injury or even death, and a business or corporation as a defendant makes injury claims and lawsuits involving tow truck accidents typically more complex and harder-fought than “run of the mill” claims from accidents between private passenger vehicles. For these reasons, it’s essential to seek assistance from a tow truck injury attorney with the experience and resources to deal successfully with the complexities of such accident claims.

Typical Injuries from Tow Truck Accidents

Because large, heavy trucks are more likely to cause serious injuries than collisions between lighter-weight vehicles, these types of incidents are more likely to produce injuries such as:

Watch the YouTube Video. See our video that describes how a tow truck accident lawyer may be able to help you with an injury claim:

History of Tow Trucks and Their Evolution

The first vehicles we would recognize as tow trucks were invented around 1915 – 1920. Motor vehicles were becoming common enough that it was realized that some standard types of recovery vehicles for assisting crashed, or disabled autos would be marketable. The earliest tow vehicles tended to be of the “hook lift” variety that would hook onto one of the disabled vehicle’s axles, lift that end of the car off the road, then tow it to a location where it could be repaired.

Tow trucks have evolved over time into several varieties with different purposes:

  • “Boom” tow trucks developed from the earlier “hook lift” trucks and usually have either a short boom and lifting attachment for vehicle towing or a longer, extendable boom and winch system for recovering a vehicle that may have left the roadway or otherwise need to be moved back onto a drivable surface. These types of trucks are less common for routine towing of disabled vehicles on the roads because they can harm the axles or drivetrains of certain cars.
  • “Underlift” tow trucks use an extendable harness or yoke that goes under one end of a disabled vehicle, picking it up by its frame or an entire axle.
  • “Self-Loader” tow trucks are similar to the underlit version but typically have controls inside the truck that allow the driver to attach to the vehicle quickly without the operator exiting the truck — for obvious reasons, this type of truck is a favorite of the “repo man.”
  • “Flatbed” tow trucks have a long, sliding rear flatbed that can be tilted down and slid under one end of the disabled vehicle. Hooks are attached to the vehicle’s frame or axle to winch it onto the flatbed, which is then tilted back to level for transport. This is the most common type of truck in current use.
  • “Flatbed and lift” tow trucks have a boom and small crane that can lift a vehicle straight up and then place it on the truck flatbed. This type is more common in large cities where tight parking situations may make retrieving a car with a standard flatbed truck difficult.
How to Drive More Safely Around Tow Trucks

Give them a bit of space. Tow truck drivers are hard-working individuals with difficult, dirty, and often dangerous work that puts them at significant risk of injury or death. Tow vehicles are large and heavy compared with passenger vehicles — although they aren’t as heavy and unwieldy as large tractor-trailer rigs, they still don’t maneuver as easily or stop as quickly as a passenger car. Especially give some extra room to the trucks actively transporting disabled vehicles. The excess weight of the towed vehicle makes them top-heavy, even less maneuverable, and harder to stop.

Give it some extra room if you’re driving behind a tow truck carrying a vehicle. Although it’s unusual, it’s certainly possible for an improperly secured load to be lost off the truck. It’s also possible for improperly secured items on the vehicle being towed to suddenly fly off.

Drivers often have specific obligations toward tow truck drivers responding to roadway incidents. California Vehicle Code 21809, for example, states that a driver who is approaching a stationary vehicle that is displaying flashing amber lights shall either change lanes so as not to pass immediately adjacent to the vehicle — give it an extra lane of space — or if this is not feasible to slow to a “reasonable and prudent” safe speed has provided the conditions.

Some states even treat tow trucks with flashing lights as emergency responders, like police, fire, and ambulance vehicles, and require drivers to yield to them as they approach. If you’re stuck in traffic and see a tow truck approaching with flashing lights, it’s probably a good idea to give them plenty of room to pass – they’re likely headed to clean up the accident that has you stuck.

Sacramento Tow Truck Accident Lawyer

An accident with a tow truck can leave a person with serious injuries, medical expenses, wage losses, and other significant damages. Insurance claims and lawsuits resulting from these accidents can be more challenging than other routine accident claims.

If you or a family member has been injured in a traffic accident involving a tow truck, please give us a call today for free and friendly advice. You can reach us at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400, or you can use our online contact form.

We are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

See our client reviews on AvvoGoogle, and Yelp and our past cases on our Verdicts and Settlements page.

Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 12.28.22]

Image by Wolfgang Krzemien from Pixabay 

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