The towing trade publications and websites routinely carry reports about tow truck drivers who, in the process of hooking-up or servicing roadside accidents on the roadside, are struck and seriously injured or killed by vehicles that were supposed to safely pass by. All too often, the drivers of the crashing vehicles are drunk or otherwise impaired to the point they should not be operating a motor vehicle.
Releasing impounded vehicles can be a tricky affair. You need to be sure that the person or company to whom the impounded vehicle is being released has been duly authorized by the vehicle owner. Otherwise, you might find yourself at the wrong end of a lawsuit seeking money damages for improper release of an impounded vehicle.
The TowLawyer gets this this call at least once a week. Scenario is this: tow company calls TowLawyer and is upset that they are not getting the opportunity to perform tow services for a particular law enforcement or governmental agency. TowLawyer asks the following question: what can you point to that gives you the legal right to perform tow services for that particular law enforcement or governmental agency.
In the tow business, it is common for companies to refuse to release vehicles until the full bill for towing and storage has been paid. Although this is rarely discussed, the legal basis behind a company’s refusal to release a vehicle centers on whether or not the tow company has a possessory lien. Stated another way, generally, it is unlawful to retain someone’s property without some legal basis.