Towing and storage after a Motor Vehicle Accident
If your vehicle requires towing after a motor vehicle accident it is important to understand your rights and obligations to ensure that you are not left in a position where you owe a tow operator hundreds or even thousands of dollars and cannot retrieve your vehicle until payment is made.
In Queensland there is the Tow Truck Regulation Scheme which covers most of the State. Tow truck operators that tow vehicles after accidents are governed by the Tow Truck Act and Tow Truck Regulation. The vehicle as well as the operator and any assistants must be licensed. The scheme does not regulate vehicle breakdown towing, trade towing or towing from private property.
A licensed tow truck must have markings on both sides of the tow truck that display the:
- name, business address and telephone number of the licence or towing permit holder
- classification of the tow truck
- licence or permit number of the tow truck
- Tow Truck Number.
After an accident occurs if your vehicle is unable to be driven away and requires a tow then you or an authorised officer (ie a Police Officer) must give permission for your vehicle to be towed by the operator. The vehicle must be towed to the nearest holding yard available to the operator by the most direct route or to the Police station, if directed to by Police.
The owner of the vehicle will be liable for the payment of the towing charge even in an instance where the vehicle was towed under the authority of another person, like a Police officer. There is a maximum regulated amount that can be charged for a tow which is currently $304.10 for the first 50km and$6.05 for every km thereafter. This amount includes up to 60 minutes working time at the scene of the accident (preparing the vehicle for towing and cleaning up the scene) and up to 72 hours storage of the vehicle at a holding yard. A towing operator cannot charge you or your agent (ie an Insurance / Loss Assessor) to inspect your vehicle during business hours. While a tow operator must keep the personal property in your vehicle in safe custody, we recommend that any valuables or other personal possessions be removed from your vehicle before it is towed from the incident scene, if it is practicable to do so.
If after 72 hours you have not collected the vehicle hefty storage fees will likely apply. In our experience these storage fees can be anywhere from $44 to $60 per day. Delay in collecting your vehicle or arranging your insurance claim will only add to your towing and storage expense. We recommend that as soon as practicable after the vehicle has been towed you, or someone acting on your behalf contact the tow yard
If you do not hold comprehensive insurance you will need to arrange for repair of salvage of the vehicle yourself. This will mean that you need to have the vehicle independently assessed as soon as possible. To help you with pursuing the other driver for the damage to your vehicle we have prepared two information packs depending on whether your accident occurred in Queensland or New South Wales. You will find these documents HERE along with some helpful links to the necessary forms etc.
We are here to help if you require assistance pursuing the other driver or their insurer. We are expert car accident lawyers who can help you recover monies owed to you from the at fault driver. You can contact us on 1800 007 277 for an obligation free assessment of your motor vehicle property damage claim.