Tow trucks are a common sight around auto accident scenes in Illinois. If one or more of the vehicles involved in the incident are undriveable, then a tow truck is usually the most efficient way to remove them from the site and transport them to a repair facility or residence.
Occasionally, one of these tow trucks will be involved in an accident of its own. If the tow truck is transporting a vehicle at the time of the wreck, the tow truck company is usually responsible for any damage to the vehicle being towed.
But what if a professional tow truck is not involved? In other words, what if one private vehicle is towing another?
You’ve probably seen some of these “private-towing” arrangements on Illinois roads before. Some examples include:
- a car using a flatbed trailer to transport another car (or off-road vehicle)
- one car towing another car using a rope, chain, or strap
- a rented moving truck either towing a vehicle or transporting it on a flatbed trailer
- a recreational vehicle towing a car
- a pickup truck pulling a disabled car out of a ditch, mud, or snow
In these situations, not only is it possible for the towing vehicle to sustain damage in an auto accident, but the vehicle being towed can also get damaged as well. Furthermore, either one of these vehicles can contribute to the cause of a collision. Here are some common scenarios:
- a towed vehicle striking another vehicle alongside it when the towing driver tries to change lanes
- a towed vehicle strikes a pedestrian when the towing driver cuts a turn too short
- a towed vehicle drifts into another lane and strikes an oncoming vehicle on a curve that was poorly negotiated by the towing driver
- a towed vehicle or flatbed trailer jackknifing and striking another vehicle after the owing driver swerves suddenly
- a towed vehicle or flatbed trailer becomes unhooked and rolls into traffic, and is struck by another vehicle
Generally speaking, in any at-fault accident in a private towing scenario – whether the towing vehicle or the towed vehicle causes the damage – the driver of the towing vehicle will be held responsible for all damages and injuries. One notable exception is if another part – be it the owner of the towed vehicle, a rental company employee, or someone else – improperly secures the towed vehicle or trailer, and that negligence can be directly linked to the cause of the accident.
If you have been injured in a collision with a private-towing vehicle that wasn’t your fault, seek medical attention immediately and then contact a qualified auto accident attorney.