Skip to content

Can I Sue a Towing Company for Damaging my Car?

Michael Agruss

Written and Reviewed by Michael Agruss

  • Managing Partner and Personal Injury Lawyer at Mike Agruss Law.
  • Over 20 years of experience in Personal Injury.
  • Over 8000+ consumer rights cases settled.
  • Graduated from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law: Juris Doctor, 2004.

If you have been wronged by a business, like a towing company, you may be able to take legal action. A consumer protection lawyer can help you file a claim and get the compensation you deserve. The Chicago, Illinois lawyers at Mike Agruss Law are experienced in consumer law and will work tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome. As such, we sometimes represent clients against a towing company. If you’re seeking damages against one of the local tow companies, keep reading to learn more about your legal options and how a car accident lawyer can help.

Tow Truck Transporting A Light Vehicle

Understanding Your Legal Rights

If your car is damaged by a tow truck company, it’s natural to be frustrated and concerned about your legal options. Vehicle owners may have the right to pursue legal action against a towing company or their insurance company if their vehicle is damaged due to the towing company’s negligence or misconduct. This includes situations where the tow truck driver conducted the action improperly, leading to scratches, dents, or other forms of damage to the vehicle. The key element in such cases is establishing that the towing company failed to exercise the proper standard of care expected in the industry.

Many towing companies have policies and insurance in place to cover damages occurring during towing operations. However, when a dispute arises between a vehicle owner and a tow truck operator, and a resolution cannot be amicably reached, the vehicle owner may consider filing a lawsuit. This legal process can address grievances such as illegal towing, damage done to the vehicle or its contents, or loss of property. It is important for car owners to understand their rights and the responsibilities towing companies have to maintain the safety and integrity of the vehicles their tow truck drivers are towing.

Understanding Tow Company Liability

When pursuing a case against a towing company for damages to a vehicle, understanding the nuances of liability is crucial. This section breaks down the process of determining fault and identifying common types of damages during a towing incident.

Determining Fault in Towing Company Damages

Determining who is at fault in a towing incident typically revolves around the concept of negligence. A towing company may be liable if it can be shown that they failed to exercise reasonable care and this failure led to the vehicle’s damage. For instance, if a towing company does not secure a car properly to the tow truck, resulting in the car falling off and getting damaged, the company could be considered at fault.

Common Types of Damages

Damages can manifest in various forms when a vehicle is not handled correctly by a towing company. Some frequently reported damages include:

Physical Damage to the Vehicle: This encompasses scratches, dents, or more significant harm to the vehicle’s body.

Mechanical Damage: Issues such as alignment or transmission problems that arise post-towing.

Personal Property Loss: Items inside the vehicle that may be lost or damaged.

Documenting these damages thoroughly is essential in building a case for compensation.

Legal Basis for Suing a Towing Company

When a towing company causes damage to your vehicle, there are specific legal grounds to initiate a lawsuit. The two primary bases involve claims of negligence and breach of contract.

Negligence and Carelessness

Negligence occurs when a towing company fails to exercise the level of care that a reasonably prudent company would in similar circumstances. This can include scenarios such as:

  • Improperly attaching the vehicle to the tow truck
  • Damaging the car during the towing process due to careless handling
  • Losing items from the vehicle if it wasn’t secured properly

Consumer Protection Laws often serve as a shield for consumers, offering them the right to pursue legal action when services provided fall below the statutory standard of care.

Breach of Contract

A breach of contract may occur when the towing company fails to fulfill the terms set forth in their service agreement with the owner of the car. This could manifest as either not delivering the vehicle to the agreed-upon location or causing damage despite assurances of a safe towing process documented in a service contract.

The vehicle owner must be able to prove that the towing company’s failure to adhere to the agreement resulted in damages. Understanding the specifics of the contract is crucial to determine the suitability and strength of the breach of contract claim.

Gathering Evidence and Documentation After a Tow Company Damaged Your Vehicle

When pursuing a legal case against a towing company for damages to a car, the collection of comprehensive evidence is crucial. Detailed documentation can substantiate the claim and show the extent of the damage that occurred during the towing process.

Photographic Evidence

It is imperative for individuals to take detailed photographs of their car both before and after the towing incident. These images serve as a visual record, highlighting the condition of the vehicle at each stage. Photos should include close-ups of the damage that capture different angles of any dents, scratches, or other damage. Also include overall shots of the vehicle to show the car’s position relative to the tow setup or impound area.

Witness Statements

If individuals witnessed the incident or are familiar with the vehicle’s condition prior to towing, their accounts might be pivotal. They should describe the occurrence and provide details on the towing process observed. Be sure they note the vehicle’s pre-tow condition and compare it to post-tow status. Witnesses can also include expert testimony from mechanics who can profess to the cause of damage based on their professional assessment.

Filing a Claim and the Litigation Process

When pursuing a lawsuit against a towing company for damages to your vehicle, understanding the distinctions between small claims court and civil court procedures is crucial. These venues differ significantly in the complexity, potential damages that can be awarded, and the level of representation required.

Going to Small Claims Court After a Towing Company Damaged Your Vehicle

In Illinois, small claims court offers an expedited process for individuals seeking to recover damages typically less than $10,000. This is a cost-effective option for relatively minor disputes, and plaintiffs often represent themselves without an attorney. The steps for filing in small claims in Illinois involve:

Filing a Complaint: The plaintiff must file a formal complaint with the court clerk in the county where the towing company is located or where the incident occurred.

Serving the Defendant: Legal notice must be given to the towing company, informing them of the lawsuit.

Hearing: Both parties present their case before a judge, and no jury is involved. Plaintiffs should bring all pertinent evidence, which could include photos of the damage, repair bills, and witness statements.

Civil Court Lawsuits

For claims exceeding the small claims threshold or involving more complex legal issues, a civil lawsuit in a state court may be appropriate. These cases can address a wider range of damages, including extensive property damage and potentially punitive damages. The litigation process in Illinois typically involves:

Filing a Complaint: A more detailed complaint is filed with the appropriate court, which might require legal expertise to draft.

Discovery: Both parties exchange evidence, conduct depositions, and investigate the facts of the case.

Motions: Preliminary rulings may be sought from the court to resolve or narrow down the legal issues.

Trial: A full trial takes place, with the option of having a jury decide the outcome.

Plaintiffs considering either venue should collect as much evidence as possible to support their case, including documentation of communications with the towing company and a detailed record of the damages claimed. In Illinois, plaintiffs must also be mindful of the statute of limitations, which sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit.

Consult a Consumer Protection Lawyer After Damages From Having Your Car Towed

When your vehicle has been damaged by a towing company, seeking the counsel of a consumer protection lawyer can offer significant advantages. An experienced attorney from an entity like Mike Agruss Law will not only guide you through the intricacies of the legal process but also strive to uphold your rights effectively.

Choosing the Right Attorney

Selecting an attorney requires careful consideration of their expertise and track record in consumer protection cases. A proficient consumer protection lawyer typically offers:

Experience: They should have substantial experience handling cases involving towing company disputes.

Client Reviews: Positive feedback from past clients can indicate successful outcomes and satisfaction.

Specialization: Ensure the lawyer specializes in consumer law, particularly relating to automotive and property damage issues.

Get Legal Advice From Mike Agruss Law

Consulting with a consumer protection lawyer from a firm like Mike Agruss Law provides tangible benefits:

Clarity in Your Rights: A lawyer from our firm can clarify what rights you have regarding the compensation for damage to your car.

Strategic Approach: We can devise a strategy for dealing with the towing company, navigating negotiations, or litigation if necessary.

Stress Reduction: Having professional support eases the burden of facing legal procedures on your own, allowing you to focus on other important aspects of your life.

Now is the time to book a free consultation with our legal professionals at our law firm.

Submitted Comments

No Comments submitted yet. Sharing your story will help others!

We are listening

We will respond to you at lightning speed. All of your information will be kept confidential.

Form successfully submitted!