New Jersey Tow Truck Accident Lawyers
Were you involved in an accident with a tow truck? Did you sustain injuries and don’t know what to do next? If so, contact Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers so we can discuss your legal options.
Tow trucks are necessary for removing vehicles from accident scenes, ditches, or if a car stalls in the middle of the road. It’s convenient that you’re able to call a towing company to pick up your vehicle and transport it elsewhere. However, those working trucks can also cause severe accidents.
Although not as large as other commercial trucks, tow trucks can cause significant property damage and severe injuries to the occupants of small cars. If the tow truck driver was negligent in causing the crash, you could hold them liable for your medical expenses and other costs. Call Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers at (973) 364-8300 to learn more about our legal services and how one of our New Jersey tow truck accident lawyers can help.
Types of Tow Trucks
Tow trucks pick up and transport illegally parked, indisposed, impounded, and disabled vehicles. Four main types of tow trucks include:
- Flatbed tow truck – A hydraulic mechanism picks up the vehicle and places it on the back of the truck or allows someone to drive it onto the back.
- Hook and chain tow truck – A crane with a chain and hook attached to it lifts the vehicle by the front or rear bumper and places it on the back of the truck. It is mostly used for cars going to the junkyard since it can easily cause damage to the towed vehicle.
- Integrated tow truck – There are more axles than on other tow trucks, and the arm used to lift vehicles is towards the center of the vehicle instead of in the back. That allows the driver to tow large trucks and buses.
- Wheel-lift tow truck – Crossbars and a hydraulic boom lift and attach a vehicle by its rear or front wheels and pull it behind the truck.
Tow trucks have an added element of danger when they’re carrying a car on or behind them. If the driver doesn’t properly secure it, the car could detach and collide with another vehicle. It also adds more weight, making the force of a collision between the truck and a small car even more significant.
Common Causes of Tow Truck Accidents In New Jersey
Tow trucks are similar to other commercial trucks in that they are larger and heavier than the standard compact car. The main difference between a tow truck and, say, a tractor-trailer is that tow trucks only transport vehicles, while tractor-trailers and other large trucks carry consumer goods, hazardous chemicals, and other materials.
A tow truck driver must follow all the same traffic laws that other drivers follow. Driver error is among one of the most common reasons for crashes. Sometimes, the trucking company’s actions result in an accident if they hire someone who isn’t experienced or qualified to operate such a complicated vehicle.
Some of the most common causes of tow truck accidents include:
- Texting while driving or other distractions
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Defective vehicle or parts
- Fatigued driving
- Failure to obey traffic laws
- Improper lane change
- Lack of repairs and maintenance on the vehicle
- Trucking company’s negligent hiring practices
- Driving under the influence
Most people assume they should hold the driver accountable for causing the accident. However, towing companies have just as much responsibility for how their employees behave on the road as trucking companies do. If the tow truck driver involved in the accident wasn’t correctly vetted before hiring, their employer could assume liability for your losses. Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers has experience investigating tow truck crashes to determine who is to blame and the legal options for pursuing compensation.
Trust the New Jersey Tow Truck Accident Lawyers of Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers To Handle the Accident Investigation
After an accident, you should always take steps to protect your rights to compensation from the at-fault driver. Although it’s necessary to gather as much evidence as possible, we can handle that aspect of your case for you. Your injuries may be too severe for you to exchange insurance information with the tow truck driver and take photos of the scene.
When you hire Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers, we will use our resources to obtain crucial evidence that proves the truck driver or trucking company should suffer the consequences of their actions and provide the compensation you need to heal. Some of the evidence we could recover includes:
- Copies of your medical records, medical bills, and other documentation associated with the case
- Truck driver’s breath and blood tests, cell phone records, employment history, and prior accident records
- Statements from people who witnessed the collision
- Towing company’s maintenance and repair logs for the vehicle
- Crash report
- Accident scene photos
- All available auto insurance policies
- Video surveillance of the accident
We understand that you might not want to pursue legal action against another person after a tow truck accident. However, it is almost always necessary in situations like this. You can’t depend on the insurance company to handle your claim fairly. You will need quality legal representation from someone who will keep your best interests in mind and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
Calculating the Losses Suffered After A Tow Truck Accident
Whether you pursue an insurance claim or lawsuit, the goal is typically to cover your prescription costs, emergency room bills, and other expenses you incurred after the accident. These are known as losses and can be physical, emotional, or financial. They include:
- Medical bills
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Loss of consortium or companionship
Medical bills are pretty straightforward and easy to calculate. However, non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, are a bit more challenging. Placing a value on something intangible requires reviewing other factors. Some of the contributors we might use to determine an adequate compensation amount for your case include:
- The type and severity of the injury
- Whether you recovered or ended up with permanent impairment or disability
- The duration of necessary medical treatment
- The amount of insurance coverage available
- Total medical costs
- Any emotional or mental suffering endured
- Any inability to perform job-related duties due to the injury
- The effect of the accident on your daily life and routine
Auto Insurance Laws In New Jersey
Unlike other states that use a fault system, New Jersey follows a no-fault system for auto insurance and liability after an accident. That means you must turn to your auto insurance company for compensation for your losses before seeking compensation from anywhere else.
Personal injury protection (PIP) covers an accident victim’s medical bills, lost wages, and other associated costs. However, it does not cover intangible losses, such as emotional distress. There is a minimum $15,000 limit you must purchase on your policy when you apply for insurance. Unfortunately, that usually isn’t adequate coverage after a collision with a tow truck.
After you use up your limits, you might be able to file a claim with the truck driver’s insurance company. It is mandatory for all tow truck drivers to carry liability insurance with at least $750,000 in coverage for a vehicle weighing under 32,000 pounds. If the truck is more than 32,000 pounds, they must purchase at least $1 million in liability coverage. Unlike PIP claims that only cover expenses, you could seek your total past and future losses in a liability claim.
You could be entitled to compensation from a lawsuit depending on the options you chose on your auto insurance policy:
Unlimited Right to Sue is an option that gives you the right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for compensation of all your losses.
Limited Right to Sue is an option that prohibits you from suing someone after an accident unless your injury is one of the following:
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent injury
- Displaced fracture
- Loss of a body party
- Significant disfigurement or scarring
If you choose to file a lawsuit against the tow truck driver, you must do so within two years from the accident date. This is called a statute of limitations, and it is a deadline for pursuing legal action against another person. It is critical that you follow this deadline if you want to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and intangible losses. If you miss the deadline, you essentially give up your right to hold the at-fault driver accountable for their actions in court.
Contact Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers for Your Free Consultation
Our New Jersey tow truck accident lawyers know the roadblocks you could face when you’re seeking compensation after a tow truck accident. Without legal representation, you will likely end up with much less compensation than you need and deserve. We won’t allow anyone to mistreat you during the insurance claims or lawsuit process. We will advocate for your rights and help you fight for justice.
At Brach Eichler Trial Lawyers, we believe that everyone in New Jersey deserves a fair chance of holding others liable for the harm they cause. If you were the victim of a tow truck accident and need assistance with your case, call us at (973) 364-8300 today.