Is a tow truck driver liable for damages to a towed car?

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Is a tow truck driver liable for damages to a towed car?

The car was being towed out of home driveway; there was a drop from the driveway to the road. While going over this, the front end of the car came up and hit the back end of the tow truck causing some damage to the fender. The management of the towing company told the employee to pay $1500 or quit – which will make it so that the employee can not collect unemployment – is this legal?

Asked on February 17, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, forget about what transpires between the driver and the tow company; that's literally not your business. What is your business is that your car was negligently, or carelessly, damaged while being towed. That means that the driver (who actually did the damage) and the tow company (who employed him, and is responsible as his employer for damage he does in the course of his employment) are *both* potentially liable to you. You may only collect an amount equal to the damage, but you may collect it from either (or part from one, part from the  other). Of course, if driver or company doesn't voluntarily pay, and the company's insurer chooses to not simply honor the claim and pay, you'll have to sue to get your money; but you can sue either. So from your point of view, both driver and business are potentially liable.


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