Tow rotations present some of the most hotly debated legal subjects in the tow industry. One of the most common issues is a vehicle owner’s right to choose their own tow company in the event of an accident.
On March 27, in the case of Big Wheel Truck Sales v. Safety Insurance Company, Case #16-P- 318, the Massachusetts Court of Appeals held that the removal of a vehicle from the site of a single-vehicle crash, without more, does not constitute a repair, or “remediation,” of the property on which the crash occurred and, therefore, is not payable under a policy of liability insurance issued on the wrecked vehicle.
For those of you that have attended a TowLawyer seminar, you might remember Michael McGovern’s notable way of teaching the possible risks of wrongfully perfecting tow liens. It goes something like this, Mr. McGovern approaches a tow operator sitting in the front row and, much to their surprise, temporarily takes one of their personal belongings like a hat, pen, notebook, etc. and informs the owner that he is not giving it back. The tow operator usually exclaims something like “you can’t do that!” Mr. McGovern then smiles and asks: “why not? What that’s called?” Most every tow company in the room says “stealing” or theft or the like and then McGovern (correctly) compares his action of stealing the hat, etc. to a tow company wrongfully holding or refusing to release a towed vehicle without a legal right.