When you find yourself involved in an accident, it is important to remain calm and protect yourself and your rights. Some individuals attempt to take advantage of the chaos surrounding a wreck; it is important to be alert and cautious during the immediate aftermath of the accident. The Los Angeles Police Department has issued an official warning to motorists about the growing problem of “bandit” tow truck drivers.
There are many reputable towing companies in Southern California. Lots of body shops also offer free tows from an accident scene, but motorists are filing an ever-increasing number of complaints with Los Angeles car accident attorneys and the police regarding predatory towing actions.
Here is the basic idea: Bandit tow truck drivers listen to police scanners and wait for reports of an accident. They then rush to the scene, oftentimes beating the authorities, and offer a tow. They make drivers sign an agreement that essentially locks their car away based on the terms of the towing agreement, which in many cases can be extremely unfavorable. The drivers may say they will take the vehicle to a location of the owner’s choice, but they take it to an undisclosed body shop that is paying them a kickback. It is not uncommon for drivers to end up paying massive fees to get their vehicle back, including fake service charges, inflated towing costs, and enormously overpriced repair services. All is designed to maximize the bill to the consumer.
Chris Waters, a lieutenant with the LAPD and the commanding officer of the Commission Investigation Division states:
These bandit tow truck drivers are breaking the law by responding without being requested. They often arrive before our officers and pressure the accident victim to sign a release that allows them to take the damaged vehicle. Once that form is signed and the vehicle is towed, getting it back is expensive.
Towing charges, which normally are priced at a couple hundred dollars, can sometimes rise into the thousands. Police are warning drivers in Los Angeles against the scam, saying that they get as many as five calls a day about the issue. If you are involved in an accident, contact us immediately, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and do not accept the services of any tow truck driver not explicitly called by you or the police.
For further information or to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced and reputable lawyers at West Coast Trial Lawyers, please contact us at (888) 539-9582 or visit www.WestCoastTrialLawyers.com.