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  1. #1

    Default Tow Damage - Where May I File a Small Claims Case

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: TX or NM

    My question is "What court LOCATION options are available to file a small claims case for a tow?"

    Details: I was towed from ODESSA, TX to LAS CRUCES NM, the damage occurred during the trip in PECOS, TX.
    The tow company is located in ODESSA, TX, so I know I can file a case there. But...

    As these locations are nearer to me, they would be less expensive for me.

    Can I file a case in:
    (better) PECOS, TX? ?
    (best) LAS CRUCES, NM ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    2,730

    Default Re: Tow Damage - Where May I File a Small Claims Case

    Does your written contract with the towing company say anything about where any disputes must be filed?

    If not, I see nothing that would make me think filing in Las Cruces would be proper and, if you're driving 250+ miles to Pecos, the additional 75 miles to Odessa isn't particularly significant. One other thing to keep in mind: even if you could sue in Las Cruces and win, how would you collect on the judgment? Does the towing company have assets in Las Cruces (or anywhere in NM)? If the company is based in Odessa, that's probably where its assets are located, so you might as well sue there.

    Out of curiosity, have you made a claim with your auto insurer for the damages? If not, why not? If so, what response did you get from the insurer? I don't know if this would be covered by your collision coverage (assuming you have collision coverage), but if your insurer pays (less the deductible), then it will pursue the tow company so you don't have to.


    From the other thread you started on this same issue:

    Quote Quoting myfriendhenry
    View Post
    I will file a case against a tow company for damage.

    My question is if I file a credit card claim as a form of self-help, might this impact my court case other than to offset the damages amount?

    Details:
    credit card charge: $2800
    damage to vehicle $5000

    I would like to file a credit card dispute immediately, but I worry it may harm my small claims case.
    No reason I can think of.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Tow Damage - Where May I File a Small Claims Case

    thanks for your attention to this matter.
    I didn't sign a written contract, it was handed to me upon arrival and I refused to sign it, but I paid for the tow.
    I did not have full coverage, liability only, and thus was denied other than to help me determine the tow company insurance info.
    At the moment their insurance company is not returning my calls even though I have a claim number that MY insurance opened with them.
    I went ahead and filed in NM, in hopes to get their attention. I figure it may prompt them to go ahead and talk so they don't have to travel to NM for a relatively small claim.
    I opened a dispute with the CC company also.
    Collecting any monies over and above the credit card charge of $2800 may be an issue as you stated.
    In the end, if I get the cost of the tow returned, I may consider it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    18,307

    Default Re: Tow Damage - Where May I File a Small Claims Case

    What kind of damage and how did it happen?

    I don't see where you are entitled to a chargeback. The tow was apparently necessary and it cost your $2800. Even if your CC company did the chargeback the tow company could sue you for the $2800 or countersue you depending on timing. You'd still pay the $2800.

    As for the $5000 damage. You write that you just have liability insurance. Is the car worth $5000? If not you would be entitled (if you win) to the lesser of the repair cost or Actual Cash Value. Do you have an estimate for the repairs or are you just picking a round number out of the air?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: Tow Damage - Where May I File a Small Claims Case

    While you may not have signed the document, you certainly do have a contract with the towing company, and that contract may, in fact, contain limitations on what you are entitled to.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Tow Damage - Where May I File a Small Claims Case

    adjusterjack :
    Damage from a tire blow-out. It is a Medium-Duty Truck, semi tires can cause lots of damage when they blow.
    The truck was towed from the rear when it should have been towed from the front as documented in the GMC manual. The front axle weight limit was overloaded and the tire speed rating was far exceeded contributing to the tire blow-out IMO. When the tire blew, the driver didn't notice for a long time and it managed to rip apart the fiberglass hood, headlight, turn light, rim, gas tank, bumper, windshield washer reservoir+pump, and tire of course.
    I also have preliminary postings on a towing site asking for professional opinions. Several professional tow drivers offered many reasons why towing from the rear was the wrong thing to do including that if you experienced a blow-out, you may never detect it.
    The tow was indeed necessary. I fully expect to pay them for the tow in the end and whatever I recover should be offset by the cost of the tow, although they charged me an extra $400 than the estimate.
    Yes, I understand that I certainly can't get more than it is worth. It is a truck worth about $20,000 which is what I paid just before it was damaged.
    As for the estimate, I shopped for the replacement parts and added a very conservative estimate for labor. (actual $5573) I only filed the civil complaint today, but I expect to get an actual estimate before the case comes up.
    As for the case, I plan to win. I will have the official GMC manual with towing instructions. I will have the replies from the professional tow drivers. further, I was in the truck for the trip, so I know that he was going 85+ most of the way when the tires are load rated for 65mph max. The departure and arrival times also prove the excessive speed.

    comment for Zinger:
    I understand your position on that, but in my experience even with written documents, there is still much to work with as long as you feel that you are right.
    I can offer an example. Years ago, I took a united airlines flight, and I checked a laptop. Now, this laptop was rather old and the fact that it was old was actually the reason that I needed it (for the old serial port). So honestly, no big deal if it were to be lost. I take the flight from Washington DC to Los Angeles without incident and then a return flight back to DC. Upon arrival, I lift my bag off the carousel and almost fall back because it is much lighter than expected. The laptop was gone, it had been stolen at some point in the travel process. United Airlines had possession and responsibility IMO, but the carriage document clearly spelled out that they were not liable for missing items. I filed a police report and I sued them not for a missing item, but for a STOLEN item. They settled the day of the case in the back room of the Leesburg, VA courthouse.
    Anyway, all this is to say basically, sometimes it doesn't matter what a contract says (I guess implied in this case). Sometimes a defendant just wants you to leave them alone and may settle.
    By the way, a large luggage theft ring was busted at the Los Angeles airport just after my civil suit was settled.

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