If you’ve been driving long enough, you have probably found yourself in this situation. You were in a car accident and now your car is sitting at a tow lot. The question is, what now?
What are your rights and responsibilities as the owner of the vehicle?
First and foremost, before your car is even towed, remember, you do NOT have to use the tow company the police want. You can decide where your car is towed and if you are unsure, you can always ask your insurance company if they have a preferred lot.
Once the car is in your preferred lot, you as the owner have protections and rights that the tow lot must respect. As the owner of the vehicle, as long as you have proof of ownership that you can provide, the tow lot must allow you to get in to your vehicle and retrieve any personal items at no cost and without making you retrieve the vehicle itself.
Further, under the Administrative Code here in Ohio, the amount the tow lot can charge you for towing, storage, after-hour retrieval fees, and administrative fees are limited by the State and based on the weight of your car.
That said, there are some responsibilities you, as the owner of the car, have even though the accident may not have been your fault. Although the at-fault driver’s insurance may be responsible for paying the costs while your vehicle is in the tow lot, you have a responsibility yourself to keep those costs as low as possible.
Therefore, if the car is drivable, it is in your best interest to get the car out of the tow lot as fast as possible, even if you have to pay a fee. That fee will have to be reimbursed to you by the at-fault party’s insurance company.
If the car is not drivable, you may have the ability to just sell it to the lot as well. While a lot of tow yards will wait thirty days to dispose of your car, by law, you only have ten days from the date you receive your notice that your car is in the lot to make arrangements. Therefore, it is in your best interest to make sure the car is taken care of as soon as you can.
Being in a car accident, especially one severe enough to force your car to be towed from the scene, can be stressful and confusing. But, remember to keep in mind, you DO have rights and protections when it comes to your vehicle as outlined above.
If you have any further questions about your vehicle while it is in the tow lot, feel free to reach out to us here at McKenzie and Snyder at 513-737-5180.