If a mechanic hires a tow truck to move a client’s vehicle and the tow company causes damage, is it the business or the company that is liable to the client?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If a mechanic hires a tow truck to move a client’s vehicle and the tow company causes damage, is it the business or the company that is liable to the client?

A major mechanic chain is claiming the tow truck they called to orchestrate a tow caused damage to the client’s car, so are refusing to pay the estimated damages for repairs. They say that it is the tow company that is responsible. The tow was paid for by the client to the mechanic, not the tow company, and the tow company has decided it was the mechanic that is at fault. What details and information would be necessary for small claims court?

Asked on May 22, 2019 under Business Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the tow company is an independent company and not part of the mechanic's business, then the mechanic would not be liable for damage done by the tow: a person or business is not responsible for the damage done by an independent business hired by them to do something. (So if you hire a roofer, for example, and the roofer accidently drops roofing tiles or shingles on your neighbor's car, breaking its windshield, the roofer, not you, would be liable--the same principal applies here.)
You of course do not know who caused the damage--tow company or mechanic--at this stage. So sue them both: you can sue more than one party, and can and should sue everyone who may be responsible for your damage. Sue them both to make sure you get the responsible party, and let each one try to prove the other was at fault.

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