About Michael McGovern

Michael McGovern is the co-founder of TowLawyer. TowLawyer is the one-stop shop where you’ll find legal resources and answers to your towing and recovery legal questions and concerns.

Unpaid Recovery Bills Just a “Cost of Doing Business”?!

Earlier this month I attended a meeting of a state legislative advisory board that was created to study issues in the towing industry. The 11-member board consists of law enforcement officials, state government officials, and members of the state towing association. The board meets twice a year with a stated purpose to make recommendations to the legislature and law enforcement on ways to improve the interaction between the towing industry and those that it serves.

By |2019-10-28T11:20:04-06:00October 28th, 2019|Billing & Collections|0 Comments

Checks Marked “Payment in Full”

A TowLawyer subscriber called last week about an insurance check he had received as payment for a tractor-trailer roll-over recovery. Before he received the check, he and the insurance company had been engaged in a running dispute about the amount of the invoice. The insurance company sent the towing company a check in the amount that it considered to be reasonable for the recovery services provided. The check was thousands of dollars less than the invoice amount. On the back of the check, at the bottom of the endorsement box, the following words were printed in bold type: “ACCEPTED AS PAYMENT IN FULL.”

By |2019-09-12T08:09:56-06:00September 12th, 2019|Billing & Collections|0 Comments

Refusal to Return Recovered Stolen Vehicle to Owner Results in Criminal Conviction for Tennessee Tow Operator

Back in 2013, Morristown towing company owner James Morgan unwittingly got involved in a stolen car ring.   Morgan, a one-truck operator, received a request to impound several dilapidated vehicles. The person requesting the tows indicated that he had bought the vehicles from their owners. It turned out that, in fact, he had not purchased some of the vehicles. He was using Morgan’s towing service to steal the cars.

By |2019-07-11T20:29:04-06:00July 11th, 2019|Other Legal Issues|0 Comments

The Uber Case: When Your Competitor Ignores The Rules

At TowLawyer.com we often get calls from subscribers frustrated over the lack of enforcement of laws and regulations that apply to their local towing operations. Nothing is more infuriating that seeing a flagrant violation of a towing ordinance or police department regulation by a competitor that goes unenforced. For example, a local ordinance requires all tow trucks to carry a fire extinguisher and broom but none of your competitor’s trucks have that equipment. Or the police department rotation rules require a 10-foot chain-link fence capped with strands of barbed-wire but your competition only has a rickety 6-foot fence patched up with chicken wire and pieces of tin.

By |2018-09-07T10:06:16-06:00September 7th, 2018|Other Legal Issues|0 Comments

Towing Firm’s Lawsuit Against Highway Patrol Tossed Out by Federal Judge

On November 7, 2013, the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP), Chattanooga District, suspended Monteagle Wrecker Service (MWS) from its wrecker rotation list for one (1) year. The THP determined that MWS had violated the THP rotation wrecker rule which prohibits two (2) or more towing companies, owned in whole or in part by the same individual, to participate on the towing list within the same zone. According to the THP, the owner of MWS, Rodney Kilgore, had an ownership interest in two other THP-rotation companies in the same zone. That conclusion was based, in part, on evidence that MWS was processing credit card payments for all three companies. One of the other companies, which was being operated by Rodney Kilgore’s father, William Kilgore, was permanently removed from the THP list on the same day.

Mass. Appeals Court Says Vehicle Recovery Fees Not Payable Under Liability-Only Insurance

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.

Impound Lot Freeloader is “Employee” under Worker’s Compensation Law

As a general rule, towing businesses are required by law to pay for the medical treatment and lost wages of employees who suffer work-related injuries, without regard to fault. In order to avoid potentially crippling expenses in that regard, all fifty states require companies with a certain minimum number of employees to purchase workers’ compensation insurance or be adequately self-insured. The minimum number of employees varies from state to state but, typically, the number is between three and ten. Once that threshold number of employees is met, then workers compensation insurance must be obtained by the employer.

By |2017-03-11T16:24:01-06:00February 22nd, 2017|Human Resources|0 Comments

Recovered Stolen Vehicles: Tow for Free?

No doubt, having a vehicle stolen can be a very unpleasant experience, especially if the owner of the vehicle is uninsured for theft loss. With luck, the stolen vehicle will be found undamaged by a police agency. The vehicle is then towed to the secure impound lot of the police contracted towing company. The uninsured owner is notified. Happy day! The owner hurries to the towing yard to retrieve their vehicle, but — wait — there is a $700 bill for towing and storage fees. The vehicle owner cries, “But I am the victim of the theft! I shouldn’t have to pay.”

By |2017-02-14T20:21:39-06:00February 11th, 2017|Billing & Collections|0 Comments

Confidentiality Disclaimers on Fax and E-Mail Communications

Nowadays, towing companies send a lot of e-mails and faxes. I have noticed that many of them contain automatically-inserted confidentiality disclaimers at the bottom of the communication that read something like this: The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain proprietary, business-confidential and/or privileged material. If you are not the intended recipient of this message you are hereby notified that any use, review, retransmission, dissemination, distribution, reproduction or any action taken in reliance upon this message is prohibited.

By |2017-02-10T19:17:07-06:00January 30th, 2017|Other Legal Issues|0 Comments

One Tow Company Gets All Police Tows: Isn’t That a Monopoly?

For as long as you can remember, the city in which your towing company is located has used only one company – not yours – for all of its police-dispatched, nonconsensual tows. Your company is equally qualified to perform police towing work – you have the equipment, experience, insurance, etc. – so you ask the police chief to start using your company on a rotating basis with the current tow company. The chief says that he is satisfied with the service he is getting and denies your request.

By |2017-02-10T19:17:25-06:00December 29th, 2016|Other Legal Issues|0 Comments