OT - What should I about tow truck damage?

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I suppose this is as good a place to ask as any...
My son drove my car into a ditch. The tow truck operator winched it out, but slightly damaged a panel. He pointed it out and said it was unavoidable. It isn't much, but any sheet metal damage is expensive to fix.
Legally his position is untenable. If the damage was unavoidable he should have advised my son first and gotten authorization to do it; but he didn't say a word about possible damage, he simply gave my son a price and went to work. That is adequate to show negligence and liability in small claims court.
But I don't want to be a jerk about this. If it truly was unavoidable (except perhaps by means that would have cost more than the damage) then I don't want to hassle him.
On the other hand, if the tow truck operator screwed up and carelessly damaged my car, I don't want to be chump and absorb the loss.
You see the dilemma? Any advice here? No, no, I mean helpful advice...
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How? How much is "slightly damaged"?? What "panel"? (and what kind of car?) Were you present for the pullout?

The question is;was it foreseeable that the "slight damage" would happen?

Jeez! I'd be expecting my son to be paying for any damage. He's the one who put the car into the ditch. He might learn an important lesson from the experience. (also to accept responsibility for his actions) How old is your son?
BTW,what does the towing bill say? Any disclaimers on the back,fine print,etc.? Got any *proof* that the panel was undamaged before the tower did his work? Witnesses other then your son? This would have been one place a cellphone camera would have been useful.

See a lawyer.Then you will get good advice.
Looking for good advice for legal matters on Usenet is unwise.
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Jim Yanik
jyanik
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snipped-for-privacy@abuse.gov says...

Or a video camera! http://www.pokeface.com/?show_mediaH6&file_type=Movies
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At first I though this was a stupid troll, but you have been here alot. Dont you think if he could have not damaged it he would have done it different, you wont have an easy time proving your case even if right. I dought its worth it.
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Toller wrote:

I don't see how anyone can tell whether the damage was avoidable or not without having seen the car in the ditch.
What are the laws are in your state that govern the business practices and requirements of tow truck drivers?
Towing a car out of a ditch involves risk, much like putting it in there in the first place. If your son had hired a crane it could have been removed without further damage (I'm assuming that there was some damage from driving into the ditch). Does the fact that the car sustained damage while being towed out automatically establish negligence? I don't think so.
It's also possible that your son is willing to share some of the blame with the tow truck driver. Other than your son, no one knows what happened while he had the car.
R
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Your insurance should cover it.

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So.....now you can say that letting your son drive means that damage to your car caused by his driving is unavoidable...correct? I mean, it was not in a ditch before he put it there.

If the damage was going to happen, due to the cars location, position in the ditch...and any company would have said, we are not going to pull you out because you might sue us over your sons failure to be able to correctly control a vehicle, and now, the vehicle is in a position that it can not be recovered without some more slight damage, then the car would still be in the ditch right?

With a good lawyer, anything is possible.

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Yeah,OJ,Michael Jackson,and Robert Blake got off. (no wisecracks about MJ getting off! 8-) )
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Jim Yanik
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Thanks the tow truck driver, trade the son in for a newer model.
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Your son has the dilemma: He's got an asshole for a parent.
The best thing the tow truck driver could have done was left his car in the ditch.
It could have been July and you would have bitched about the mud on the car.
STFU and call your insurance company.....
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Tell your son to get a job, quit drinking, and learn how to drive without running into a ditch. Send a thank you note to the tow truck operator for recovering your son's car. Say a prayer thanking the Lord that your son wasn't killed (this time).
I'll bet you are one of those whiny parents who think it is the teacher's fault when your kid never turns in his homework and gets a "D".
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"My son drove my car into a ditch. The tow truck operator winched it out, but slightly damaged a panel. He pointed it out and said it was unavoidable. It isn't much, but any sheet metal damage is expensive to fix. "
How much is the damage from removing the car as compared to the damage it already had from going into the ditch? I would think there would be damage from it going into the ditch to begin with. If the additional damage is only a slightly damaged panel and there was already other damage, then it may not cost that much additional to repair. If a body shop has to repair and spray an an adjacent area, same color, etc, then fixing the additonal damage shouldn't cost that much more.
I don;t see how after the fact you are going to be able to determine if the additional damage could have been avoided. Depending on state laws and who called the tow truck, you may not have much of a case, if at all. For example, if the police called them, you may find that they have the right to remove a car from the road right of way by any reasonable means. If the damage is only a couple hundred bucks, I would just have Jr pay for it.
You don't mention if you have collision insurance, sounds like you don't, otherwise it shouldn't be an issue. BTW, are you sure you're getting the true story from Jr? He's not trying to weasel out of the damage by claiming it was not from the accident, is he?
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What kind of car, year and condition, what was the condition of driver, and tires. How big a ditch. My rear tires Michelin, have 60000 miles worth of tread on them but after 5 years are hard and slippery. All tires oxidise and are dangerous after 5 years or so. Maybe its all your fault , negligence of proper safe auto condition. Be thankfull he didnt kill someone, then you would really pay. To put a car in a ditch you are simply careless, careless of what the car will do safely. Send the tow truck driver a Christmas card for thanks.
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:)
Obviously the tow truck driver was a HACK! You should have called a PRO!
:)
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Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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The dilemma is that you are raising yet another parasite who cannot speak for himself to get himself out of his own problems. Your son will probably grow up to think that he is never responsible for anything that ever happens to him, and that someone else will have to do the dirty work to get him out of the jams he gets himself in.
I'll bet you are a democrat.
You should be disciplining your son and make him get a job and get his car fixed.
Why in the hell would anyone ever think it is the tow truck driver's fault that your son drove in a ditch?
Why can't your son speak for himself and solve his own problems?
Why are you even allowed to reproduce?
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Toller wrote:

it's too late to cry about this now, it should have been handled on the spot your son should have said Wait! your fugging up my car! but he did not...
I had a tow driver drop my car and destroy my fender, I made them pay for it.
Why don't you call the tow company and ask them how they would like to handle this.
they will say, it was un-avoidable...get that in writing, your ins co might need it.
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There was no damage from going in the ditch. The damage was a slightly bent panel behind the driver's front wheel, and damage to the paint there. My insurance would go up way too much to file a claim on it. There is a responsible witness to the operators pointing out the damage he had done. Legally, the liability is clear; that is not the issue.
Several people have implied that I am a lousy father for letting my son avoid his responsibilty; but that is largely the issue. If the tow truck operator is responsible, then my son is not (and visa-versa). I want to hold the right party responsibilty. Eventhough I could recover from the tow truck company, I don't want to do it if it is wrong.
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No such thing. Perfect condition went out the window when you left the lot....
Besides, it might have been perfect in your eyes, but when it hit the ditch..all bets went off.

Sure there was..perhaps not cosmetic..

Then pay for the new fender out of pocket...or better yet...see below.

Hope they were not the passenger in the car with your son.

Umm...sure is. Id be looking at your son and askin where your money was.

Then you need to be looking at your son....he put the car in the ditch, he was in control, its his responsibility when he took the keys from you. If it had not been placed in a ditch, you would not have this issue to deal with. If you were serious about this, you would stop trying to find the "out" to go blame the towing company, and look at it logically...and responsibly. Your son, for whatever reason, failed to control the vehicle. The vehicle went into a ditch. In order to extract vehicle from ditch, it was damaged. You were not there, so...remember, there are three sides to any story...Yours, theirs and the truth. Looking from the outside, I would suggest that you make your son pay for the fender, AND the driving classes he should be in. You then teach your son, responsibility for his actions, in this case, failing to keep it on the road, and you teach him how to drive and stay between those white lines.
Sorry...Im sure you dont like the sound of that, but its what I would do. My son in law cant drive worth a damn. Hes not my son, but when he wrecked his last car, he asked me to buy him another one. I can afford it, and he knew it. I would have, but the boy was handed everything to him from his father in CA. I offered a loan to him to get a new one, or a good used one, and of course, that wasnt good enough. Tough. After walking for a few weeks, he finally got the hint, and started to save for one. My job isnt to bail him out when he screws up...yours as a parent IMO isnt to teach your son how to screw up and get away with it. Too many kids out there now like that....Oh..dont worry, Daddy will fix it, or, the one I like....You dont know who my Daddy is...who really gives a damn kid? Suck it up, and deal with it. If you cant afford a slight increase in your insurance for a couple of years, perhaps the car should just get sold off and he walk. Wait....hes not paying the additional insurance for him being allowed to drive your vehicle? Has he NO responsibility? What does he do all day? sit around, play Xbox, smoke dope behind your back and steal from your liquer cabinet?
He might be a good kid...you came into Usenet asking for free advice and you got it. Seems the majority would suck it up and teach him something about responsibility.

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Perfect condition, sure, were tires 01, car made in 00, and if so they were junkyard crap, oxidised hard, slick with little stick . Even 02 tires are poor by age alone and severly less safe. And of course you tested or had the brakes tested and there were no locking wheels, I mean this WAS done on ice or snow. Consider your self lucky it wasnt worse and enjoy life, the tow truck operator didnt want to damage that "perfect" 5-6 yr old. Go buy some new tires.
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The two are severable. Your son *IS* responsible. Ideally, it would be a point of pride in him to repair any damage to the car while it was in his care, even if he *DIDN'T* do anything wrong, but that's a little much to expect in today's world. The tow-truck driver may also be responsible. (Although, if he is, it's to the son, not to you.) In any case, you are unlikely to recover enough money to make going after the tow-truck company financially rewarding. If you think they are ACTUALLY, as opposed to possibly legally responsible, (as in, they chose to haul the car out between two cement bollards instead of the other way) you might want to go after them out of vindictiveness, but if you have to ask here, you're nowhere near sure enough to make that reasonable.
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