If you were involved in a Missouri automobile accident, a tow truck’s arrival might be your first sign of relief. While most tow truck drivers are skilled professionals with years of experience, they can and do make mistakes. Sometimes, these mistakes damage our vehicles, making an already bad situation even worse. However, tow truck accidents can also cause serious injuries—even death.
If you were hurt in a crash with a Missouri tow truck, you might have suffered serious, life-altering injuries. However, you should never have to pay the price for someone else’s negligence. A Missouri tow truck accident attorney can help you get the relief you need.
How Tow Truck Accidents Happen
Tow truck accidents are rare. But when they do happen, they happen the same way as other types of automobile crashes. A tow truck crash may be caused by:
- A distracted tow truck driver
- Poor, inappropriate, or illegal parking
- Aggressive or otherwise reckless driving
- Improperly maintained equipment
- Equipment failure
While tow truck injuries are most often caused by road collisions, they can also affect people whose vehicles are being towed—especially if the tow truck operator fails to follow proper safety protocol or does not adequately secure the towed vehicle to the truck.
Possible Injuries in a Tow Truck Accident
Tow trucks come in all shapes and sizes: while most tow trucks are equipped to service private automobiles, others are outfitted to haul away semi-trucks and construction equipment.
Although tow trucks are not all built the same, they are almost always bigger and heavier than ordinary passenger vehicles. So, when a tow truck operator acts negligently and causes an accident, other people can be seriously hurt. Typical tow truck accident injuries include:
- Cuts, scrapes, and lacerations
- Whiplash or other neck-and-shoulder injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Traumatic brain and head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Organ damage
The injuries sustained in a tow truck accident can be severe, demanding days, weeks, or even months away from friends, family, and work. All the while, an accident victim may be losing much-needed income—money they need to pay their rent, support family, and clear medical bills, but that they cannot earn because they are too injured to return to work.
What to Do After a Tow Truck Accident
Your health and physical well-being should always be your first priority if you were hurt in a tow truck accident. If you or a loved one sustained any serious injuries, call 9-1-1 and seek medical attention.
Even if your injuries do not appear to warrant a trip to the emergency room, schedule an appointment with your family doctor as soon as you can. You may not believe you were hurt, but a physician can detect and diagnose injuries masked by a post-accident adrenaline rush.
However, if you can stay at the scene of the accident, you should immediately contact law enforcement: a police report can help you prove that the tow truck operator was at fault in court.
While you are waiting for police to arrive, photograph the scene of the accident, including your injuries, damage to your automobile and the tow truck, and any nearby mileage markers, street signs, and traffic control signals.
Once you have a police report in hand and a physician’s appointment scheduled, contact a personal injury attorney immediately.
How an Attorney Can Help
A Missouri tow truck accident attorney can help you analyze the evidence you have already collected while performing a far more intensive, in-depth investigation of the accident and its causes.
Even if you believe your case is open-and-shut, you will still need to show a Missouri insurance company or claims court that the tow truck operator was at-fault for your accident. You might be able to do this by showing that:
- The tow truck driver was drunk.
- The tow truck driver was distracted.
- The tow truck driver was drowsy or otherwise unfit for duty due to extenuating physical or psychological factors.
However, the tow truck operator may not be the only person responsible for your injuries. Oftentimes, their employer is also to blame, especially if they:
- Failed to properly maintain tow truck equipment
- Failed to conduct regular safety inspections of the tow truck and its equipment
- Failed to run a background check on the tow truck driver
- Failed to verify the tow truck driver’s credentials and qualifications
- Did not adequately train the tow truck driver
Depending on the nature of the accident, your Missouri tow truck injury attorney will decide whether you need to take action against the tow truck driver, the tow truck company, or both.