December 15, 2015, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
A friend of mine was recently hit on the 401 by an impaired driver. The friend was stopped on the highway in traffic when the car behind him hit him. My friend called 911 and exited his vehicle to check the damage which was significant. The car was no longer drivable but fortunately he wasn't injured.
What he noticed right off was that the driver of the other car was so drunk he could hardly stand. Tow trucks were there before the police. When the police arrived they immediately arrested the suspected drunk driver, took my friend’s statement and advised him to get his car off the road immediately. He told the tow truck driver to hook up the car and tow it. This was not a truck my friend called, and my friend didn’t feel comfortable with the driver who he described to me as really sketchy looking. My friend wanted to call CAA, but the police advised him that he’d be fined if he didn’t clear the 401 immediately. He took the sketchy tow. The result was a trip in the tow truck cab to an ATM to pay the guy off because he only took cash. From the ATM he called CAA..
So, my friend had the right to call the tow truck company of his choice, but due to practical pressures was prevented from tying up the 401 for another ½ hour in order to do so. The police have the clear expectation of making the 401 passable within a timely manner following an accident. I am sure they know about the predatory tow truck companies but are pressured to keep traffic flowing.
Some tow truck drivers require you to sign off paperwork. If you don’t read it you may be agreeing to have your car towed to certain mechanics and to certain pricing without even knowing it. The government is currently writing the new regulations following a consultation period. The new regulations are meant to protect people further from predatory practices.
FSCO has tips to help you avoid tow truck scams:
If you require the services of a tow truck driver, know your rights. Here are some tips from their website:
- Make sure the tow truck has a municipal licence number on its side before you use its services.
- Look to see if the tow truck is affiliated with a reputable company such as an automotive roadside assistance group or Automobile Association.
- Ask if the tow truck has a police contract.
- Listen for obvious clues. Does the driver recommend a particular repair facility without being asked? If he/she does, this might be an indication that a referral fee arrangement exists. In Toronto, making such a recommendation may be illegal under the Municipal Code, Chapter 545.
- Carefully read everything the tow truck driver asks you to sign.
- Ask that your vehicle be taken to a secure location where an adjuster or appraiser from your insurance company can have access to it. Some municipalities require that your vehicle be taken to a Collision Reporting Centre or police station before it goes anywhere else.
- Contact your insurance company, if possible, for information on towing and where to take your vehicle to be repaired.
- Consider having your vehicle towed to a preferred vehicle repair shop. Some insurance companies use preferred repair shops where they have an agreement that guarantees your vehicle will be repaired to the highest possible standards. For more information, contact your insurance company.
|Posted under Personal Injury, Car Accidents, Drunk Driving Accidents, Slip and Fall Injury, Spinal Cord Injury, Truck Accidents
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About Deutschmann Law
Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.
The opinions expressed here, while intended to provide useful information, should not be interpreted as legal recommendations or advice.