Tow Truck Bent Tie Rod
I own a 2000 Focus ZX3. On New Year's Eve, it was towed because I parked illegally. As soon as I drove the car upon picking it up from the tow place, I noticed that the steering was screwed up and had to pull over and have it towed (again) to my garage. My garage told me that the tie rod on the driver's side had been bent. They replaced it and did a 4-wheel allignment. Total cost: $420.
It's obvious (to me, at least), that the tow truck damaged my car. But they're trying to weasel out of it, saying there's no way their tow trucks (I believe they have the non-flatbed kind) could have done this, although I could have done it myself by driving into a curb or maybe it had slipped out of alignment by magic. They also didn't think that my garage even replaced the tie rod, saying that they thought it had just been cleaned really well to look new since it didn't seem to have been removed from the boot. I have no idea what any of that means, but maybe some of you do.
Basically, the car was pretty much undriveable when I picked it up, so there's really no way it could have been like that before the tow took it. Of course, it's my word against theirs about that.
My question is, can a tow truck damage a tie rod like that? Someone told me that a bent tie rod is a common towing injury for Focuses, but I haven't found anything to confirm that. If I end up having to take the tow company to court, it'd be nice to know that I at least have a leg to stand on. I don't know much about cars and had never even heard of a tie rod before all this happened, so any information you can give me would be valuable and appreciated. Thank you thank you thank you.
(And no, my insurance company will not help me. Progressive says that since the damage was under my deductible, they have no way of forcing the tow company to pay. So I'll probably be dealing with this on my own. And then changing insurance companies).