Sadly, after being the victim of a car accident, some drivers find themselves the victim of exorbitant tow truck fees and related storage yard fees. After being involved in an accident, people are often in shock and aren’t thinking clearly. Police and paramedics are trying to get traffic moving and inoperable cars cleared from the scene. In their effort to get traffic moving, the police may have called the nearest tow service to get the scene cleaned up and to move your car. The officer is well meaning and doing his job.
Next thing you know, a tow truck has arrived. You may even be breathing a sigh of relief when the tow truck arrives as the state of shock may have made you feel as if you didn’t know what to do. Next thing you know you have signed some documents and the tow truck operator has told us that ‘He’ll take care of everything.’ We go home, open a claim with the at fault insurance carrier and it’s not until two weeks after the accident do we get a bill for $700 in storage fees and $300 for the towing service. What!!??
Things you need to know about tow trucks and auto accidents. First off, you need to know that just because the police have called the tow truck operator to the scene does not mean they are an honest service, the most reasonable or that they are operating out of the goodness of their heart. Tow truck drivers and storage yards are in the business of making money. How do they make money? The longer your vehicle is in the tow yard, the more money they make. So, don’t allow yourself to by lulled into a feeling of security or trick yourself into believing that everything’s taken care of just because they towed your car. You need to understand you have just entered a business transaction with them. You also need to understand that the owner of the vehicle, not the insurance company, is responsible for the final bill. The law has ruled that by your signing a document allowing a tow truck operator to take your vehicle YOU have entered a consensual contract with them. Your insurance company nor your attorney entered into the contract with them. Unfortunately, as such, YOU have a legal duty to mitigate your damages (costs incurred) involving tow truck fees and the tow storage fee. While this can be tough to hear, the law states YOU are responsible for the bill as YOU consented to the tow.