What to do if I had my car towed in order to get it to a shop for repairs due to a small fender bender but it was damaged during towing?

UPDATED: Jan 9, 2015

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What to do if I had my car towed in order to get it to a shop for repairs due to a small fender bender but it was damaged during towing?

I gave permission for them to tow my car while I had to be at work. Later that evening the body shop had called me to tell me the bad news that my frame rails were badly damaged on both sides from the tow. The body shop had tried contacting the towing company for 3 weeks and finally got a hold of them. The towing company is not taking responsibility but said the damage was there before they towed the vehicle. I received a call from the tow truck guy to give him directions where I had my vehicle parked and that is the last I heard from them. If the damage was there before should be had told us?

Asked on January 9, 2015 under Accident Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The tow company and tow drive are not obligated to tell you about pre-existing damage they find when they tow a car--it may be a good idea to do this, but they don't have to.

However, you don't have to take their explanation at face value: if you are confident in your recollection that the damage did not exist before the tow, or you have an expert (like someone at the bodyshop) tell you that in their opinion, the damage was caused by the tow, you could sue the towing company and the driver personally to recover the cost of repairing your car. To win, you'd have to convince a court, such as by your testimony or by the testimony of someone at the bodyshop, that the tow company caused the damage.

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