Who is responsible if your car is in a ditch and as a tow truck is pulling it out, the rear bumper of the car is damaged by a tree that was behind the car?

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Who is responsible if your car is in a ditch and as a tow truck is pulling it out, the rear bumper of the car is damaged by a tree that was behind the car?

Asked on June 20, 2014 under Accident Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If the tow truck operator was careless (negligent) in how he hitched the car or did the tow, and that negligence led to the damage, the tow truck driver and his employer, the towing company, would be liable. But if they were not careless, and the bumper came off due to damage from going into the ditch, from prior damage, or because the car was situated in such a way that there was no way to free it without losing the bumper, then the car's owner would have to bear the cost of repair/replacment (or his insurance, if applicable, would), unless there is some other at-fault party he can seek compensation from (e.g. if someone had driven him off the road and into the ditch by driving carelessly, he could look to that person for compensatation).


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