According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, accident victims are increasingly likely to become victims of tow truck scams. From 2009 to 2010, the number of U.S. insurance claims involving inflated tow truck company charges more than doubled. You can read more about tow truck accident scams in Atlanta auto accident lawyer Shane Smith's article, "High Towing Fees? Learn How Unscrupulous Towing Companies Prey on Atlanta Accident Victims."
How can you avoid becoming a victim of a tow truck scam after an Atlanta car accident? Follow these tips.
If your vehicle is disabled in an Atlanta auto accident, make sure that the police come to the scene. Let the police officer handle the towing arrangements.
Only use a tow truck which has been called by you or the police officer.
If you must call your own tow truck, use a towing operator affiliated with your insurance company, car maker, credit card company, or roadside assistance program.
If a tow truck operator arrives before the police officer comes to the scene, do not sign any forms. Tell the operator you want to speak to the police officer before arranging for towing. Do not give in to any pressure from the tow operator.
Once police have responded to your accident, follow their towing guidance.
Once the police officer orders your vehicle to be towed, do not sign any paperwork given to you by the tow truck driver.
Make sure you know what your tow will cost, including storage fees and miscellaneous charges. Get this quote in writing.
If you must sign the form (because police did not order the tow), sign by each amount, not only at the bottom of the form.
Remove your belongings before the car is towed.
Never give a tow truck operator your insurance information.
Never give a tow truck operator your personal lien holder information.
Keep all paperwork that you are given. Make sure that the name on the tow truck matches any documentation or forms given to you by the tow truck operator. If there is no sign on the truck, ask to see company identification.
Ask that the tow truck operator to complete a damage report before towing your car. This gives you a record of the damage. If he refuses or gives you a hard time, be suspicious.
Insist that your vehicle be taken to your choice of repair shop. If he insists you use his company's repair shop, refuse the tow.
If you haven't chosen a repair shop, have the vehicle towed to your home.
If you have any questions about the tow truck operator's legitimacy, talk to the police.
What can you do if a towing company takes advantage of you after an Atlanta traffic accident? Your insurance company may reimburse you for your costs. To learn more or to discuss your Georgia injury claim with an Atlanta auto accident attorney, contact Shane Smith Law at 770-HURT-999. The initial consultation is free.
To learn how to protect your Georgia accident claim, request a free copy of 10 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Georgia Wreck Case.