Brian White | November 18, 2020 | Auto Accidents
When a car is undriveable after an accident, it must be towed from the scene. Sometimes, this is done at the direction of the car owner if he or she is at the accident scene and is uninjured. Sometimes, this is done at the direction of law enforcement personnel. Police may have all the vehicles towed to clear the scene and make it safe for other drivers. In that case, you may have to call the police station to find out where your vehicle is being stored.
Steps to Take At the Scene of The Accident
It can be particularly helpful to take pictures of all the vehicles in their resting position immediately after the car accident. If a person is well enough to do so at the scene, it can be helpful later. Most people have access to a camera on their cell phones. This information can be invaluable to a personal injury attorney representing your interests and to an accident reconstructionist employed to give their opinion regarding how the accident occurred.
It is also critical to determine if the other driver or drivers involved in an accident have insurance coverage. Texas law requires the exchange of information at the scene of an accident. The names, addresses, insurance policy information, and registration numbers of the vehicles must all be exchanged. If the parties are severely injured at the scene, and police are present, police will likely obtain this information and put it in their report.
When an accident is severe and people are transported to hospitals, dealing with the towing and location of a vehicle may be low on a person’s immediate priority list. But towing and storage fees are expensive. Storage fees continue to add up until paid and the vehicle is released. Who pays for the towing and storage fees?
Towing costs are surprisingly expensive. Many times after an accident, a car is towed as a matter of course. An owner, on the way to the hospital, may not have the opportunity to consent to the costs of towing. Nonetheless, the owner may be held liable for the towing costs. At least initially.
When the fault for the accident lies with another person, those costs, just like the costs of any storage and car repairs, become part of the property damage part of your case against the culpable party.
If you have roadside assistance and direct that your car be taken directly to your favorite repair shop, it is likely that some or all of your towing costs will be covered by your roadside assistance plan.
Likewise, sometimes your own insurance policy will pay the costs involved in towing and then seek reimbursement from the culpable party’s insurance company. It is helpful to know what your insurance company will cover, even before the accident. You may wish to read your policy so that you can be prepared in the event of an accident.
Getting Your Car Out of Storage
Storage or salvage yard costs increase daily. Texas law limits what a storage or salvage yard can charge. For most vehicles, the daily charge is between $5 and $20.64 per day. If the car is longer than 25 feet long, the cost per day increases.
Depending on the severity of the accident, a vehicle may be repairable, or it may be a total loss. Even if it is a total loss, your insurance company and the culpable party’s insurance company may want to inspect the vehicle. Details about an accident can be discerned from the scrapes, dings, and dents on the body of the car.
Even if a vehicle is totaled, it can be helpful to have an inspection of the car and to take pictures of the car. Working with your insurance company in this portion of the proceedings can be helpful.
If the other party is clearly at fault, that person’s insurance company may want to inspect the car and then pay for the vehicle to be released to the owner. If liability is questionable or disputed, a person may have to pay out of pocket for these costs and seek reimbursement as part of their property damage claim. In that case, a person must save all of their receipts for later submission as part of that claim.
If the culpable person does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover the claim, the owners of a damaged and towed vehicle may have to submit a claim through their own insurance company. Usually, this claim is filed as an uninsured/underinsured claim against a person’s own policy. There may be a deductible that must be met before the coverage kicks in. Again, it is really helpful to know what is covered before any accident occurs.
When you are at fault, check your policy to see if you have towing and storage coverage. If you do, you can make a claim under your own policy for those costs.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Insurance companies hate to pay out on claims. They will often dispute liability to try to get a claimant to back down and pay costs out of pocket. When an insurance company declines to pay these costs, it can be helpful to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Personal injury attorneys are experts at dealing with insurance companies that do not want to pay.