Transporting vehicles requires the strength of a tow truck and the skills of a professionally trained driver. Safety is paramount for all road users, whether the car towed suffered damage, mechanical issues, or someone is repossessing it.
If you suffered severe injuries due to a tow truck accident involving negligence, you may want to contact a West Virginia tow truck attorney today.
Types of Tow Trucks
Sharing a West Virginia highway or city street with a tow truck is sometimes an intimidating experience. The sheer size and weight of the truck and the vehicle it tows outnumber that of a car, truck, motorcycle, or bicycle.
There are four types of tow trucks most motorists encounter during their travels:
- Hook and chain tow truck: use a large hook to secure a vehicle’s bumper or axle and chains to wrap the vehicle frame
- Flatbed tow truck: a hydraulic lift raises a car onto the bed of the truck; sometimes referred to as a rollback
- Wheel lift tow truck: use a yoke under the front or back wheels of a car and hydraulic lift; fast use makes the truck common among repo companies
- Integrated tow truck: extra axles allow integrated tow trucks to tow such items as motorhomes or busses
Each tow truck requires a dedicated focus on the road and a safely secured load. If you suffered severe injuries from a tow truck accident caused by one of the trucks listed above, a lawyer can help you fight for compensation.
Common Causes of Tow Truck Accidents
A tow truck accident can occur due to operator error, mechanical issues, or both. The same problems that can affect drivers of passenger vehicles can cause a tow truck driver to lose control of their truck and load.
Among the most common causes of tow truck accidents include:
- Driver fatigue: A tow truck driver is often on-call and can work varied shifts. Drifting to sleep behind the wheel of a tow truck can result in life-changing injuries for other drivers.
- Drunk driving: Tow truck drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.04 percent face severe consequences for their actions. An impaired tow truck driver experiences such issues as delayed reaction times and reduced coordination.
- Aggressive driving: A tow truck driver may speed or dangerously—yet purposely—change lanes without warning. Acts of road rage by a tow truck driver can result in serious harm for those around them.
- Distracted driving: Smartphones are sometimes a contributing factor in West Virginia accidents. For a tow truck driver, other forms of distraction are navigational devices, communication radios, and activity outside the cab.
West Virginia law sets strict requirements for obtaining a commercial driver’s license. When a tow truck driver engages in one or more of these behaviors behind the wheel, losing their license is a real possibility.
A tragic tow truck accident can also occur due to a poorly secured load or mechanical issues. No matter what the cause, accident victims who suffer damages due to the negligence of a reckless tow truck driver deserve justice.
Tow Truck Accidents: Injuries and Liability
In a tow truck accident, the injuries you suffer can prevent you from working. As your medical bills climb, your income can decline or disappear forever if you cannot return to your job.
A West Virginia tow truck accident lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your damages. In addition, depending upon the severity of your injuries, you or a loved one may require medical care on an ongoing basis.
Tow truck accident claims and lawsuits typically include such damages as:
- Medical expenses: immediate, current, and ongoing
- Wages: temporary loss of income or loss of potential future earnings
- Pain and suffering: the overall impact on your physical, psychological, and emotional health
Sadly, some West Virginia tow truck accidents result in a fatality. If your loved one did not survive their injuries, you may want to pursue a wrongful death case against those responsible.
If your loved one provides financially for your family, their death can devastate you financially. While compensation cannot replace your loved one, it can, if successful, ease your financial stress. Typical damages in a wrongful death case include final medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost earnings.
How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Investigating a tow truck accident for a civil case demands a dedicated focus. The injuries you experienced leave you with no time for the complex legalities of your case.
While there is no way to predict the outcome of your case, a truck accident lawyer will work hard to obtain the best result possible. Most civil cases settle out of court as insurance companies do not want the time and cost of a trial.
A lawyer can help you, but you must act quickly. The West Virginia statute of limitations for civil lawsuits is two years, with no second chance if you do not file your case promptly.
Consider Seeking Help for Your Tow Truck Accident
No road user expects to suffer life-altering harm due to a negligent tow truck driver. The traumatic impact of your crash or the devastating loss of your loved one forever impacts your quality of life, and that is not fair.
To protect your best interests, you may want to contact a West Virginia tow truck accident lawyer for a free case consultation. Discussing your case with someone knowledgeable about state civil laws can help you learn more about your options.
Twenty-four months to pursue legal action is not much time. The lawyer you hire needs time to investigate the accident, gather evidence, and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
You can start protecting your best interests by refusing to speak with an aggressive insurance adjuster. Contact a Morgantown tow truck accident lawyer instead. It is the best way to guard yourself against accepting less than you deserve.