An estimated 87% of Georgia drivers have purchased car insurance coverage, which would lead most of us to believe that we’d be covered in the event of an accident here in Atlanta.
Unfortunately, when accidents do happen, they don’t always fall under the scope of your policy. For instance, what if your car gets damaged while it’s getting towed away? What if a tow truck driver collides with you? Is the tow truck company responsible, or will your own car insurance cover these types of Atlanta tow truck accidents?
The answers to those questions are complicated, and your ability to seek out compensation after experiencing losses might depend on why the tow truck accident happened in the first place. It also makes a difference whether you file your claim correctly and in a timely manner.
The good news is that we can help you navigate the complexities of an Atlanta tow truck accident claim. Learn more about tow truck accidents, how to handle insurance companies after a crash, and how our tow truck accident lawyers can help you below.
Why Tow Truck Accidents Happen in Atlanta
One of the biggest factors that influence tow truck accident claims is the cause of the accident. Figuring out why the tow truck accident happened in the first place will help you determine your options moving forward.
In general, the person or party that’s determined to be at fault for the accident will be held legally and financially responsible for the fallout.
Since every tow truck accident is unique, you’ll have to investigate the accident itself to figure out what caused it. Below, we’ll go over a few of the most common causes of tow truck accidents in Atlanta.
Tow Truck Driver Negligence
One of the leading causes of Atlanta tow truck accidents is driver negligence. Every tow truck driver assumes an automatic legal duty to provide for the care and safety of everyone else on the road. Negligence occurs when drivers fail to uphold this duty of care by driving recklessly, carelessly, or dangerously. A tow trucker might display negligent behaviors like:
- Texting and driving
- Attempting to eat or drink while driving
- Getting distracted with a GPS system
- Running red lights or traffic lights
- Failing to signal
- Aggressive driving
In these cases, the tow truck driver might be held responsible for the accident due to their own level of negligence. Depending on the specifics of your case, it might be worth it to seek out a claim against the tow truck driver or the tow truck driver’s insurance policy.
Negligence from Other Drivers
Tow truck drivers aren’t the only ones who can display the negligent driving behaviors listed out above. Other drivers on the road might also be driving recklessly, carelessly, or dangerously. These drivers might be the cause of your tow truck accident. When that’s the case, those drivers or their insurance companies could be held responsible for your damages. When you suspect someone else’s driving caused your crash, it makes the most sense to talk with an Atlanta trucking accident lawyer about what happened.
Another common cause of Atlanta tow truck accidents is improper loading. Unstable cargo or an inadequately secured tow load can be extremely dangerous. While the truck is going down the road, cargo or even the trailer itself could become detached. If that happens, the disabled car could go across the road, hit other vehicles, and cause extreme damage.
Improper loading could be a result of many things like improper training, inadequate experience, faulty towing equipment, or even attempting to carry excessively large vehicles that exceed the towing mechanism’s capabilities.
Tow Truck Company Negligence
Sometimes, the tow truck company can be held negligent and financially responsible for the accident. If your car gets damaged, for instance, while the tow truck driver is on duty, then the tow truck company might be held partially at fault. Often, a tow truck company’s insurance policy provides more coverage than an insurance policy of a truck driver themselves. Businesses usually have higher limits, which usually means a fair settlement when your losses are significant.
As you can imagine, tow truck accident claims that involve the tow truck company are going to be pretty complicated. The company likely has its own team of legal experts, so it only makes sense for you to also hire a tow truck lawyer to level the playing field and ensure your rights get upheld.
How Tow Truck Accident Liability Works in Atlanta
The reason why tow truck accident claims hinge on the cause of the crash is because Georgia’s courtrooms operate on an at-fault basis. In general, the driver who is at-fault for an accident will be held legally liable for the losses that result from the crash.
Your own actions matter, too. If you are partially at fault for the crash, then your compensation award may be limited. If you’re considered more than 50% at fault for an accident, then you won’t be able to seek out any compensation at all. Instead, you may have to look to your own insurance policy for coverage.
Your own insurance won’t always cover your losses, though, especially if your situation is unique. For instance, if you were driving a Budget truck or an Enterprise rental truck, then your own policy might not cover you. A Budget truck accident lawyer or Enterprise truck accident lawyer with experience looking over rental contracts can help you determine your legal options in these situations.
Damages You Can Claim in a Tow Truck Accident
When a tow truck accident occurs and it’s not your fault, there usually is legal recourse. You might be able to seek out compensation from an insurance policy, a negligent driver, or another legally responsible party. In general, you can claim damages equal to the amount of losses you experienced. Below, we’ll go over some general types of damages that apply in many tow truck accident claims, but to learn more about what you can specifically recover after your accident, it’s best to talk to an attorney.
Some of the most apparent losses after a tow truck accident in Atlanta, GA come in the form of economic damages. These types of losses are easily quantifiable based on the actual financial losses you suffer.
For example, if the tow truck accident you experience leaves you injured, then you’ll incur medical bills. The exact costs of these bills are considered economic damages. If the accident results in property damage, then the costs of repairing the damage or replacing the total car would be considered economic damages. If you missed time off of work due to your injury, then your lost wages would be considered economic damages.
Often, tow truck accidents cause losses that aren’t so clear cut. For instance, a tow truck accident could result in permanent scarring. This disfigurement could impact a person’s self-esteem, mental health, and overall quality of life. Some accidents are also traumatic, leading to long-term emotional distress. These types of damages can be recovered through a personal injury claim, but it’s best to talk to a lawyer about how to properly value them.
Handling the Insurance Company After Your Accident
Often, tow truck accident claims involve negotiations between you and various insurance companies. Insurance adjusters will also usually want to investigate the accident, your losses, and all the claims you make in your case. Since it can be very difficult to field all of an insurance adjuster’s questions, the best way to handle these interactions is to have your insurance companies go through towing lawyers that have your best interests in mind.
You’ll also need to consider various factors before speaking to any insurance company. If you signed a contract, like a UHaul rental agreement for example, then you’ll want to look over the terms of the agreement first. If you need additional help, then contact a UHaul truck accident lawyer for more assistance.
Talk to an Atlanta Tow Truck Accident Lawyer for Free Today
Atlanta tow truck accidents are usually pretty complicated due to several parties being involved, so if you experience this type of crash, it makes the most sense to talk to an Atlanta tow truck accident lawyer about your options.
The right lawyer will go over what happened and who may have caused the crash. Then, they’ll discuss the extent of your losses with you. Based on those factors, your lawyer will discuss your legal options with you. Your own insurance coverage might cover the extent of your losses, or you may need to seek out coverage from another driver’s insurance policy. In some cases, tow truck companies are liable for accidents. You may need to seek out a personal injury lawsuit.
Either way, you’ll have to spend time documenting your losses, proving what happened, and negotiating with the responsible parties. The right lawyer can help you weigh out your options and make an informed decision on how to handle your accident and losses.
If you’re in the Atlanta area, then we invite you to schedule a consultation with our office now to talk about your accident in more detail with our lawyers.