As we have written about in this blog, downtime claims, which are claims for that time when your tow truck is down and not generating income, are tough and insurance companies often fight them tooth and nail. For this reason, before you retain an attorney to prosecute such a claim and spend even more money, it is best to know what you are getting yourself into.
If you are going to claim a lien on a towed vehicle, please understand your state law. I have been hired a number of times to draft “checklists” for tow staff to follow anytime a vehicle is towed. I think these types of checklists are great ideas because every step of the procedure must be strictly followed.
When a tow company has been stiffed on a tow bill, litigation might be only option. The first choice in considering litigation is often the answer to the following question: who should you sue?
There’s an economic reality to hiring an attorney to collect a tow bill. No matter what you might have heard, here’s the truth: if you hire a lawyer, absent some exception, you have to pay your attorney’s fees. You can’t make the losing side in a lawsuit pay your attorney’s bill. It’s your responsibility.
At TowLawyer, the most common legal issues we see are collections issues. Tower’s getting stiffed on tow bills are a real problem from coast to coast. With the costs of equipment, employees, insurance, etc. rising every day, collecting on every tow bill that is “collectable” is absolutely vital. Here are a few tips.
I had a client tell me an all too familiar story the other day. His tow company was in a dispute with a trucking company over the amount of the bill. While the dispute raged on, the tow company continued to hold the truck, trailer, and cargo. One day when push finally came to shove, the tow company received a letter from a fancy downtown law firm threatening to sue the tow company for replevin and other causes of action if the tow company did not release the truck, etc. while the dispute over the bill continued.
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.
According to my thesaurus, common synonyms for “bankruptcy” include insolvency, impoverishment, and financial despair. However, tow companies who have dealt with a bankruptcy claim might include another a term: a pain!
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.”
In 2011, the municipal tow contract of a municipality in the Kansas City area went up for bid. This contract had stringent requirements. For example, eligible bidders had to have a tow lot which had a minimum of two (2) acres of hard based surface (i.e. asphalt or concrete) located in the municipality. Moreover, eligible bidders had to have this lot in place and ready for inspection at the time of bid, meaning a tow company could not have a lease or other real estate option contingent on winning the tow contract.