What Happens If A Towing Company Damages Your Car

What Happens If A Towing Company Damages Your Car

Dealing with a damaged car can be a maddening experience, and it becomes even more frustrating when the damage was caused by the company towing your car. As the car owner, you may be entitled to compensation for damages in certain scenarios, but it’s important to know who is responsible for the damage and what your rights are.

In general, it makes sense that a towing company should be held liable for any damage to your property when it has been entrusted to their care. Without any protective measures, your car is likely to suffer scratches, dings and minor dents from being towed. However, when damage goes beyond ordinary wear and tear, there may be cause for legal action. If a careless driver or neglected technology results in a significant accident or break-down during the towing process, the tow company can face payable expense.

So, how do you know if the towing company is at fault? Many states incorporate what is known as the negligence standard. This means that the towing company must be found to have acted with a “lack of ordinary care” in order to be held accountable. In order to prove negligence, the car owner needs to provide clear evidence of exactly how the towing company caused the damage. This could involve sworn statements from drivers, witness accounts, and other elements of proof.

Additionally, if the towing company has a signed contract in place with individuals, the company may be “erring on the side of caution” by including a clause that specifically limits the amount of compensation if damage is caused. It is not advisable to sign such a contract without understanding the implications it could have for you. If in doubt, it’s worth consulting a lawyer who can advise you on the specifics.

The insurance held by the towing company may also come into play if the damage has already been inflicted. In some cases, the insurance company may be willing to compensate up to the policy limits. However, this could still be significantly lower than the full cost of repair.

If you believe the towing company is liable for the damage caused to your car, it’s important to take the necessary steps to hold them accountable. A common first step is to file a claim with the towing company. Informing them of your demand for compensation can often encourage them to settle out of court.

But if for whatever reason the towing company does not accept liability for the damages, you may have to resort to legal action. You or your lawyer will have to sue the company in court if the situation can not be resolved by negotiation or other means. Once the facts of the case have been established, the court will usually require the towing company to pay the financial damages that they are legally obligated to.

Assessing The Damage

It’s essential that the damage to your car is assessed before you start seeking compensation. When it comes to getting a fair settlement, the more meticulous the documentation, the better.

Take photos of the damage, noting each damaged part and the associated cost to repair. Also retain repair bills and receipts that show what was done to the car to fix it. Any videos or documents that further support your case are also beneficial.

In many cases, insurance companies may require an inspection of your car. This is to double-check the damage and estimate the cost for the repairs. Try to negotiate for the inspection to be conducted by an independent mechanic rather than the towing company’s own service company.

In general, state laws will determine who has the responsibility for the costs associated with the damage. Private towing companies and police departments may have different policies for compensating car owners for damage caused during the towing process.

Regardless of the legal requirements, it is wise to hold the tow business to the standards of care that one expects when any property is entrusted to a third-party. Ask yourself: Was the tow driver experienced enough? Was the tow truck properly maintained? Was the process carried out in a safe manner? Answering these questions can help determine whether the towing company was negligent in its practice.

Reporting The Incident

In the unfortunate event that your car has been damaged by a towing company, it’s important to report the incident to the appropriate organization, such as your local police or the state licensing board of the towing company. Doing so ensures that such negligence does not have the chance to occur again in the future.

In addition to filing a claim with the towing company or taking legal action, reporting the incident to the relevant agencies is important for accountability purposes. This will allow for proper tracking and documentation of the incident and ensure that any necessary action is taken if the towing company is found to be at fault.

Documenting the notification of the incident also serves as evidence in later legal proceedings to prove that the damage inflicted upon your car was caused by the towing company. Each state has its own rules regarding how and when an incident must be reported, so it’s important to consult your state’s specific regulations.

The Benefits Of An Attorney

If you feel that the towing company is at fault for the damage caused to your car, it is advisable to contact a legal professional to help you. There are a number of lawyers who specialize in accident/property damage cases and they know the details and limitations of the law in regards to such matters.

Attorneys can help you gather the evidence you need to build a compelling case, as well as provide advice on the validity of your claims. Furthermore, the assistance of a lawyer may trigger a formal response from the towing company and in some cases, result in a fairer outcome.

It also pays to be prepared. Before hiring a towing company, be sure to ask questions about the process, licensing, and insurance policies. Reading reviews can also help you make an informed decision and choose an honest business. Taking the time to do your research can help you avoid problems in the future.

Alternative Methods Of Payment

In cases where you are unable to secure compensation from the towing company and they are not willing to pay for the cost of repairs, you may be able to seek alternative payment methods. Depending on the situation, it’s possible to get the necessary repair costs from your own car insurance provider.

If the towing company was negligent in their handling of your car, your own insurance policy may be able to cover the damages. The most effective option would be to use collision coverage, which is insurance for damages caused to your vehicle during a collision.

If you still find it difficult to negotiate a satisfactory settlement, seeking legal advice may be the best option. A qualified attorney will be able to advise you on the best approach to take in seeking compensation.

Small Claims Court

If, after attempting to negotiate a settlement with the towing company, you are still unable to secure a fair outcome, you may need to take your case to small claims court. Small claims cases are designed to be simpler and faster than traditional court proceedings, as each party will generally represent themselves.

A few states also have laws that allow car owners to sue the towing company directly, rather than filing a claim with a court. This is an effective way of resolving the dispute quickly, as the court is likely to award damages to the car owner in the event that the towing company has been negligent.

The amount that the court is likely to award may differ from state to state, and is dependent on the type of damage incurred. It is advisable to seek legal counsel to ensure that you are able to receive the maximum amount of compensation that you are due.


Knowing what to do if a towing company damages your car can help to minimize the financial losses that result from such a situation. It is essential to assess the damage, report the incident to the appropriate organizations, and seek advice before pursuing legal action. In the event that you are not able to secure a satisfactory settlement from the towing company, consider taking your case to small claims court.

Marjorie Turcios is a seasoned leader and management expert with over 25 years of experience. She has held various leadership positions in private industry, government, and education. She is an advocate for creating win-win solutions and has worked to create successful, lasting change in corporations and organizations. Marjorie is an award-winning author of several books on leadership, mentoring and coaching, and effective communication skills. Her passion is to help others discover their potential and reach new heights in their professional life through her writings. Marjorie resides in Dallas, Texas where she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to different places around the world, and speaking at conferences about her areas of expertise.

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