Tow Truck Accidents
Chicago Lawyers Helping People Struck by Careless Drivers
Tow trucks are commercial trucks like 18-wheelers and big rigs. When on the road, they present dangers and can inflict devastating harm on innocent bystanders and nearby drivers. If you are injured in a tow truck accident, it is crucial to retain a Chicago truck accident lawyer who is experienced in handling these lawsuits. Tow truck companies and insurers may look for ways in which an accident was your fault, even when many people were injured, and the liability of the driver or the company was clear. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, our experienced attorneys may be able to help you recover both economic and noneconomic damages.
Liability in Tow Truck Accident Cases
Due to their weight and size, tow trucks present a greater danger on the road than passenger cars do. There are many different types of dangers. Among these is a cable breaking or a car becoming unhooked and falling off the truck bed, due to improper strapping of a towed vehicle to the back of a truck. The driver behind the tow truck may collide with a vehicle that breaks free or swerve to avoid that vehicle and hit another car. In some cases, a truck driver speeds, illegally changes lanes, or gets distracted and collides with a car. Sometimes tow brake lights are obstructed or invisible, such that a rear-end accident occurs. In other cases, the tow truck may malfunction in another way, such that it is unsafe. Sometimes a towed vehicle jackknifes, such that it hits an adjacent car.
Injuries arising from a tow truck accident can be serious and may include crushing injuries, broken bones, amputations, paralysis, spinal cord damage, and traumatic brain injuries. If a tow truck accident is caused by someone other than you, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries through a civil lawsuit. In many cases, your attorney will need to establish the negligence of the tow truck driver. This means showing that it is more likely than not that the tow truck driver owed you a duty of care, the tow truck driver breached this duty of care, the breach caused your injuries, and you sustained actual damages. If any of these elements cannot be shown by a preponderance of the evidence, you will not be able to recover damages under a theory of negligence.
It may be possible to hold a towing company vicariously liable for the negligence of its employee in the course and scope of employment. Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, a principal can be held accountable for an agent’s wrongful or negligent conduct when the conduct is perpetrated within the relationship’s scope. Generally, principals cannot be liable for the negligence of an independent contractor. However, Illinois has adopted an exception for situations in which work has been entrusted to an independent contractor, but the principal retains control of some part of the work. In such a case, a principal can be liable for physical injuries caused to others for whose safety the principal owed a duty to use reasonable care when the injuries are caused by a failure to exercise control over the contractor. This is the retained control doctrine.
In other cases, a manufacturing or design defect may cause the tow truck accident. For example, there may be a manufacturing defect that causes the hook to come undone. In such a case, it may be possible to hold the manufacturer of the tow truck or the component liable in a product liability lawsuit.
Get Advice from a Motor Vehicle Collision Lawyer in Chicago
Tow truck accidents can have devastating consequences, particularly if the towed vehicle comes unhooked and collides with multiple cars on the highway. If you were injured in a tow truck accident in Chicago, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we also represent accident victims in Quincy, Rockford, Champaign, Springfield, and Aurora, as well as other areas of Adams, Winnebago, Champaign, Sangamon, Kane, and Cook Counties. Call us at 312-724-5846 for a free consultation.