In a society built around personal transportation, tow trucks offer a critical and necessary service. While they are meant to help stranded motorists, unfortunately, there are times when towing vehicles end up causing more harm than good. When tow trucks carrying disabled cars get into a wreck, it is incredibly easy for passengers, pedestrians, or other drivers on the road to be seriously hurt.

Common Causes of Tow Truck Accidents in Richmond

Operating a tow truck is a more dangerous profession than you may expect, especially when a driver has to pick up non-functional vehicles on highways or other high-traffic areas. The wide bulk and extended length of many tow trucks can also make maneuvering difficult, especially when carrying another vehicle. Between the size and weight of the typical Tow Truck Hauling a Car | Virginia Truck Accident Lawyertow truck, an accident can easily end with catastrophic injuries, even if it takes place at a lower speed.

All of these dangers are why specialized training is required to operate a towing vehicle and why truck drivers are legally required to uphold a basic duty of care on the job. When drivers make mistakes on the road, Virginians may be harmed and end up spending weeks or longer recovering.

Tow truck accidents typically take place due to:

Aggressive driving

Reckless behavior like cutting off other motorists or engaging in road rage is a major risk factor for severe accidents.

Defective parts

In some cases the collision wasn’t directly caused by the driver, but rather by the manufacturer of a faulty part, such as brakes, tires, or winches.

Distracted driving

Eating, talking on the cellphone, fiddling with knobs, and keeping eyes off the road to talk with passengers are all distracting driving behaviors that can make a driver liable for your damages.

Driving under the influence

Alcohol and illegal drugs impair reaction time and decision-making ability, but even legal prescriptions may have side effects that make driving dangerous.

Drowsy driving

Getting behind the wheel while tired is just as dangerous as drunk driving and can be a serious concern for tow truck operators who work long hours on night shifts or use medications that cause drowsiness. 

Improper vehicle loading

Bystanders may be injured when a vehicle isn’t secured properly and comes loose during transit.

Lack of maintenance

When a trucking company doesn’t follow a proper repair schedule, broken parts may result in a collision that could have been avoided.

Lax training

The company that hired the driver may be liable if they failed to provide proper training on how to use the tow truck.

Negligent hiring practices

Like with lax training, the trucking company may be at fault if they failed to perform the proper background checks before hiring a driver.

Traffic violations

Speeding, running red lights or stop signs, failing to yield, making improper left turns, turning without signaling, and so on can all lead to wrecks.

Virginia Tow Truck Accident Types and Injuries

The term "tow truck" encompasses a number of vehicle types that can carry a wide range of loads, potentially up to dozens of tons. Accidents and injuries can potentially occur with any type of tow truck, such as:

  • Flatbed
  • Heavy duty
  • Hook and chain
  • Integrated
  • Rollback
  • Rotator
  • Wheel lift

Tow trucks on the road in Virginia may be involved in repossessions, transporting new cars for sale, or towing wrecked vehicles that can’t make it to the garage. The varying setups of these types of trucks and the way they are operated by the driver may lead to collisions like:

  • Blindspot crashes when drivers fail to check their extended blind spots or leave additional space before merging
  • Head-on frontal collisions
  • Motorcycle crashes
  • Multi-vehicle wrecks, such as when another driver collides with the tow truck first
  • Pedestrians directly struck by a tow truck
  • Rear-end crash
  • T-Bone crash

With any of these tow truck wreck types, victims often deal with wounds significantly worse than just scrapes and bruises. Specific injuries that occur in Virginia tow truck accidents may include:

  • Back, neck, and shoulder injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Eye and facial injuries
  • Internal bleeding and organ trauma
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Soft tissue injury
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Wrongful death

How to Protect Your Legal Rights After a Tow Truck Injury

If you hadn’t been harmed in the tow truck crash, you wouldn’t have lost out on income during your recovery period or racked up any medical bills. When truck crashes are caused by negligence, the at-fault party becomes liable for your damages, and you have the legal right to pursue compensation.

Financial recovery may come from an insurance payment or a court judgement at the end of a personal injury lawsuit. In either case, your best course of action is to contact an attorney as soon as possible after receiving medical treatment. An experienced truck accident attorney can perform a thorough investigation of the tow truck wreck and find out who is specifically the best potential source of compensation, such as:

  • Another driver on the road who first collided with the tow truck
  • Faulty parts manufacturer
  • Truck driver
  • Towing company

An attorney can further use medical records, police reports, eyewitness statements, and other evidence to argue for the full value of your damages. Depending on the circumstances, compensation for your injury in a truck crash may include:

  • Any medical bills associated with the tow truck injury
  • Estimated future medical costs for further surgeries or physical rehabilitation
  • Funeral costs in wrongful death cases
  • Income you lost while recovering and were unable to work
  • Lost future earning capacity if the injury resulted in permanent disability
  • Potential non-economic damages covering pain and suffering
  • Out-of-pocket costs while seeking treatment


Kevin W. Mottley
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Richmond, VA trial lawyer dedicated to handling brain injuries, car accidents and other serious injury claims