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Who's at fault when your car is damaged during tow?

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  • Who's at fault when your car is damaged during tow?

    I have a little AWD car and I've always wondered. If I were parked illegally, or they found some reason to tow my car away and hopped the front wheels up and drug the rears along, would I be the one paying for a new transfer case or would that still be considered the fault of the towing company?

    I've always been worried that I'll miss a sign or something and come out to find I've been towed and this was the result. Even though I have a sticker just above the VIN number stating I'm AWD, I'm guessing any damage would still come out of my pocket.

    Which brings me to one more question, can the tow company ever be considered at fault for ANYTHING if you are towed against your will, or are they exempt from any and all liability (The thing comes unstrapped and flies off the interstate going 70mph and bursts into flames would be an extreme case of course).

  • #2
    Originally posted by AaronK View Post
    I have a little AWD car and I've always wondered. If I were parked illegally, or they found some reason to tow my car away and hopped the front wheels up and drug the rears along, would I be the one paying for a new transfer case or would that still be considered the fault of the towing company?

    I've always been worried that I'll miss a sign or something and come out to find I've been towed and this was the result. Even though I have a sticker just above the VIN number stating I'm AWD, I'm guessing any damage would still come out of my pocket.

    Which brings me to one more question, can the tow company ever be considered at fault for ANYTHING if you are towed against your will, or are they exempt from any and all liability (The thing comes unstrapped and flies off the interstate going 70mph and bursts into flames would be an extreme case of course).
    Most of the information you are seeking falls under Civil Law. LEOs are not concerned with Civil Law, we work Criminal Law. If the vehicle is stolen by a tow truck and the vehicle sustains damage, contact your insurance. They will handle the matter.
    Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

    [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

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    • #3
      #1 - If the vehicle is AWD or RWD and they can only get to it by the front tires, they have equipment (aka dollies) that they can use to lift all four wheels off the ground to tow it. They are not going to tow a car for miles with any wheels "dragging." If they drag wheels at all, it will be a few inches to get the vehicle in a better position.

      #2 - If there is obvious fault of the tow company that caused damage to your vehicle, they can be held liable for it. It is up to your insurance company to use their resources to get the money for the repairs. If you do not have insurance, then an attorney will probably be needed.

      You can always call Judge Judy.
      I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

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      • #4
        How about don't park illegally and you won't have to worry?
        Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

        I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

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        • #5
          Your problem would be civil in nature. Taking care where you park goes a long way to eliminating the situation you mentioned.

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          • #6
            I don't know any tow companies that don't use roll offs (flatbeds), which is makes your question irrelevant, cause they won't damage your AWD. If it were damaged, it's your dime. If you were having it towed for a break down and it fell off the truck, it's the tow companies dime.
            Being a good street cop is like coming to work in a wet suit and peeing in your pants. It's a nice warm feeling, but you're the only one who knows anything has happened.

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            • #7
              Plenty of tow companies here use both flatbeds and some type of 'claw' thing that just hooks two wheels. I go out to tow yards all the time, on calls where complainants have had their cars towed for civil reasons from apartment complexes, businesses, etc. and the cars have sustained damage. The tow yard often agrees on the spot that they're responsible - sometimes the customer has to file suit.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JI603 View Post
                Plenty of tow companies here use both flatbeds and some type of 'claw' thing that just hooks two wheels. I go out to tow yards all the time, on calls where complainants have had their cars towed for civil reasons from apartment complexes, businesses, etc. and the cars have sustained damage. The tow yard often agrees on the spot that they're responsible - sometimes the customer has to file suit.
                The claw thing you are referring to is known as the wheel lift, hence it just lifts the wheels. You may see some flatbeds that use one so it can tow two cars at once, one on the bed and one on the lift. They also use wheel lifts on the large heavy duty tow trucks that can tow semi-trucks and what not. The little crane thing is only used for recovery not the actual towing.

                They also have an extra set of wheels that can jack up the other end of the car just in case its AWD or the trailing wheels are locked by the tranny. Most tow companies don't deliberately damage the cars they tow for a couple of reasons. One, they don't want to get sued. Two, if they are going to sell the car the less damage it has the higher the sale value and the probability of it being sold at all goes up. And it is strictly a civil manner between you and the tow company.

                Extra wheels shown in the stored position on wheel lift tow truck:

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JI603 View Post
                  Plenty of tow companies here use both flatbeds and some type of 'claw' thing that just hooks two wheels. I go out to tow yards all the time, on calls where complainants have had their cars towed for civil reasons from apartment complexes, businesses, etc. and the cars have sustained damage. The tow yard often agrees on the spot that they're responsible - sometimes the customer has to file suit.
                  The claw thing you are referring to is known as the wheel lift, hence it just lifts the wheels. You may see some flatbeds that use one so it can tow two cars at once, one on the bed and one on the lift. They use wheel lifts on the large heavy duty tow trucks that can tow semi-trucks and what not. The little crane thing is only used for recovery not the actual towing.

                  They also have an extra set of wheels that can jack up the other end of the car just in case its AWD or the trailing wheels are locked by the tranny. Most tow companies don't deliberately damage the cars they tow for a couple of reasons. One, they don't want to get sued. Two, if they are going to sell the car the less damage it has the higher the sale value and the probability of it being sold at all goes up.

                  Extra wheels shown in the stored position on wheel lift tow truck:

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                  • #10
                    They would usuallly use a roll back/flat bed truck to tow something like that.

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