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Towing Liability

Bruce Smith March 18, 2011

Pickup tow ratings, towing and liability issues


Pickup tow ratings—and what they really mean when it comes to liability issues and your business

By Bruce W. Smith


“No matter what hitch, suspension, brake, cooling, or engine upgrades you make to your pickup, its towing and load-carrying limits can’t change once it leaves the assembly line.”


It’s a few minutes past 6 a.m. and your crew has to be at the jobsite in an hour. The guys are grabbing snacks and filling the ice chest with drinks and ice while you top off the fuel tanks on your dually and the compact loader on the trailer.

Your new four-door diesel 4×4 is a dream pickup; comfortable, roomy, and powerful.

In fact, with a towing capacity of more than 16,000 pounds it’ll more than meet any needs for your construction and landscaping business. The little loader you’re towing today, which weighs just a little more than 8,800 pounds, is an easy tow.

You replace the fuel cap, check the hitch to make sure the safety chains are in place and the latch on the hitch ball locked, and head out on the road.

Now imagine being in an accident on the way to the jobsite. There are injuries in both vehicles. To your horror, a lawsuit ensues and you are subsequently found liable for a multi-million-dollar judgment to the injured people.

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