tow truck

No one ever plans to get into a car accident, but when they happen it’s important to know what to do next. Once everyone is safe, and the police have documented the scene, eventually the cars will need to be moved from the side of the road. Towing services can be called by the drivers, their insurance companies, or even the police. Once they arrive, they place the damaged cars on the back of their flatbed trucks and take the car to either an impound lot or a body shop of the drivers choice.

The police (CHP/California Highway Patrol or LAPD/Los Angeles Police Department) will often used a towing service that’s known to be reputable and trustworthy, but drivers are welcome to use a service of their choice. Few people have a towing service in mind that that are familiar with, and will often use the one recommended by the police, in which case the car is then moved to one of seventeen Official Police Garages (OPG) through the city of Los Angeles.

Should a driver choose their own towing service, they are also welcome to choose the body shop they would like to have their vehicle moved to. It’s recommended to work through an insurance company, as both towing companies and body shops that store vehicles charge for their service, and doing so will help ensure that these charges are covered by the insurance policy. Going with a business of choice may or may not be covered, and their services may wind up being out-of-pocket expenses.

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Each accident is different, and the steps and procedures are unique to the individual situation. However, under normal circumstances, the insurance company will then assign an adjuster to the case, who will work with the mechanics to determine whether or not the vehicle can be repaired, and if so, how much the repair will cost.

If you are injured contact an attorney ASAP

Preferably before you speak to the other insurance company your best bet is to speak to an attorney. You may not even need an attorney- if you have very minor injuries you will simply just get some free advice. However if there are injuries sustained in the wreck you will want to run the situation by a lawyer as soon as possible.

Beware Los Angeles Bandit Tow Trucks

Los Angeles drivers should be aware of a scam that’s growing in popularity around the city. Bandit tow trucks that take advantage of car accident victims and arrive on the scene of the accident without having been contacted by anyone involved, their insurance companies, or the police. Instead, they listen to police band radio signals with scanners, listening for reports of minor accidents. It’s illegal for tow truck drivers to try to sell their services at the scene of an accident, but having the driver flag them down is legal.

The scam depends on the driver making the assumption that they are the towing service that was ordered, and signing paperwork that allows their vehicle to be taken away. The driver is totally unaware that the tow service is going to cost much more than the honest competition, and that the car is not being taken to the body shop of the driver’s choice, but to one that’s in on the scam and pays the tow truck driver a kickback.

In addition to the ridiculously high towing fees, the body shop is going to be charging equally outrageous storage fees on top. Meanwhile, the driver and the insurance company have no idea where the car is, as it was never disclosed by the tow truck driver at the time of towing. This means that it can take days to locate the vehicle, all while incurring thousands of dollars in fees from the shop. This scam is usually aimed at high end vehicles such as Lexus, BMW, Porsche and Mercedes Benz, as the owners are more likely to pay the fees to get their car back.

To avoid falling victim to this scam, it’s best to either use the towing company recommended by the LAPD, or the one that your insurance company contacts on your behalf. Never relinquish your car to a towing service that you did not request, and don’t be afraid to call your insurance agent back if your having doubt’s about the truck that has arrives. Confirming the tow truck is the one that was requested only takes several minutes, and could potentially save you several days and thousands of dollars.

Taking Pictures

As with any car accident, taking lots of pictures is advised. In addition to the pictures of the cars that were involved in the collision, take pictures of the tow truck and its operator, and any logos or contact information listed on the truck.

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Allen Vaysberg Los Angeles Auto Accident Lawyer

Call us after the accident

If you are involved in a car accident in California, you should also contact an experienced car accident attorney. We work to defend your rights, and strive to get you the compensation you deserve.

If you’ve been injured, or have fallen victim to a towing scam, we can help hold those responsible accountable. Contact us today for a free consultation.