Who is at fault for damages to other vehicles from a car being towed by a tow company?
Question Details: I have a vintage classic car that is in the process of being restored. It is uninsured, unregistered, and not driveable no engine, no transmission, no brakes, no electrical etc. It has been parked in a private residence driveway. I called a towing company to have the vehicle moved from one private residence to another private residence and disclosed the condition of the car to the tow truck driver when he arrived to pick up the car. The car was in no condition to towed on wheels needed to be flatbed towed. The tow company driver did state that he'd have to wheel tow it down the driveway first because of its incline. The flatbed truck would have bottomed out. I agreed to that as that was the only way the car could be moved out of the driveway. The driver hooked the car up to the non-flatbed tow truck and on the way down, the car made some popping noises. The driver stopped, got out, investigated, and said he'd keep an eye on it. I assumed once the car was in the road, he'd leave and go swap into a flatbed truck considering the car's condition and the discussion he'd had with his co-worker while on the phone with me when I initially called for the tow and described the driveway situation to them. The driver did not swap trucks and proceeded to tow the car on wheels to the destination I'd given him. Approximately 3/4 of the way there, 1 of the wheels came off of the car on the highway, causing damage to my car and 2 other cars that were hit with the runaway tire. I received a case number for the police report from the officer at the scene and no ticket. The following day, the tow company called and told me that I was 100% at fault and if I paid $1800 for the repairs of the victims' cars "my problems would go away". I told him the offer sounded good but I wanted to contact the victim, see the police report, consult legal advice first. He called me relentlessly for the next 3-4 days and finally threatened a lawsuit to get the money back that he is going to lose having to pay for the victims' damaged vehicle repairs. Am I at any fault here? How am I liable for the incident if my car was in their possession at the time of the accident and how is their grounds for a lawsuit against me?
Based on what you write, you are not at fault: the tow driver and the tow company are, since they negligently or carelessly wheel-towed a vehicle that they should not have wheel-towed--and compounding their carelessness, kept doing so after they heard "popping sounds" warning them that something was not going well. They also did not do what they told you they would do, which formed the basis for you hiring them to tow the car: i.e. flatbed it once it was down your driveway.
Not only do you not have to pay for the repairs to the victim's cars, since the tow company is liable for that (the damage being done by their carelessness or negligence), you can sue the tow company and driver for the damage to your own car.
Of course the tow company is telling you that you are 100% at fault: they want you, not them to pay. You have no reason to believe them about this, not when the facts support their fault, not yours.