Damage caused by the tow truck; Legally what can I do?

I was moving out of my former house and had parked my car in a lot that that was empty, but required a sticker to park there nonetheless. Anyway, about 7:45 am the tow truck company came and towed the car away. I pleaded with the man, but did realize he was right and agreed to come get my car and pay the money. Anyway, when I went to get my car, I noticed that the front bumper frame was bent and several screws had been popped off. I went back inside, with my gf, and asked him how he towed the car. He said he towed it by the front wheels and before I said anything, he said he saw the damage to the front bumper and that was all done prior to the car being towed. By now I was good and upset, but my gf hurried me out the door. I’m thinking of filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau might be my best bet, is it though?


Better Business Bureau? Heck no, call your insurance company immediatley and file a claim against the towing company. It is your word against theirs and this kind fo thing happens all the time with no action against the tow companies. It’s not your fault - unless the damage was really there already - it’s there fault. Have your insurance company contact them right away.

IANAL but in private lots where towing is enforced there is often a sign that says vehicles will be towed at the owner’s risk. IANAL but such a sign does not automatically release the towing company (or lot owner) from liability. OTOH, IANAL but when removing a car illegally parked from private property the owner probably does not have the obligation to exercise more than ordinary care. So I don’t think you will get them to accept liability unless you have show some degree of negligence. If you can’t prove he damaged your car you might have a tough time with that one.

Negligence would be towing my car with anything besides a flat bed tow truck.
Check your owner’s manual. If it indicates that your vehicle cannot safely be towed with the variety of tow truck that was used, that’s a slam dunk for negligence.
Automakers don’t keep this stuff a secret, and it’s a tow operator’s job to know how to do it right.

Big thanks for the information everybody. Is there a way I can check to see the recommended way of towing my vehicle. I’ve tried googling procedures, but I can’t seem to come up with anything. Again, Thanks for the information. :slight_smile:

Cite? I don’t see that it is obvious that it is the towing company’s responsibility to know exactly how to handle your car parked on their property. It may be true, I’d just like to see something to back that idea up.

Read the manual.

What kind of car do you drive, maybe one of us can look it up for you if you don’t have a manual.

If I was in court, in a small claims case, I’d simply submit my owner’s manual and the argument I made in my first post.
That’s probably all the argument a judge wants to hear in this size of case.
The concept that not handling my car properly is “negligence” or even “malice” probably hinges on how common my car is.
If I drive a mid-sized domestic sedan made a few years ago, they should know how to tow it.
If I drive an '89 Citroen XM or a mauve '39 Stutz-Bearcat, then of course, my argument that “that’s their job” probably holds less water.

Findlaw forums note a somewhat similar case to the OP.

The Questioner is in MN and the answer implies it holds true in NYC as well. The Lawyer advises a Small Claims Court route apparently all you need is either of the following: 1) a paid invoice for the repairs or 2) two estimates of the damage sustained by your vehicle.

In NYC, you can see the judge or arbitrate the case. The Lawyer would opt for arbitration if the arbitrators are known to be plaintiff (you) friendly.

I wrote all that from the link in case it disapears now or in the future, plus it loaded really slow. But IANAL