Dealing With Towing After an Accident

 In Personal Injury

The Ottawa Police Service, in conjunction with the Fire Department, Paramedics, Bylaw Services, and Safer Roads Ottawa, have introduced a program to inform motorists of what they should do when they are involved in a motor vehicle collision.   This includes how to hire a tow truck. The campaign was announced by the Ottawa Police Service on March 8, 2021.

Reporting Requirements

Here are the reporting requirements after a car accident:

  • Collisions causing more than $2,000 in damages or injuries must be reported to police. Call 911 if medical attention is needed.
  • For minor collisions, call 613-236-1222 for instructions.
  • Some drivers may be required to call their insurance company before leaving the scene.

Insurance Coverage

All motorists should know what their insurance policy covers for tows, repairs, and a rental.  It is recommended that you check with your insurer before getting any of these services.

Dealing With Towing

Police recommend that motorists not accept any unsolicited tows.  It is illegal for tow trucks to be within 100 metres of a collision scene unless called by an involved party.  Some tow truck drivers attend collisions without being called, even though it is illegal.  It is not uncommon for several tow trucks to attend a collision scene.  Police say that this can interfere with Emergency Services and accident investigation. Tow truck drivers who do not comply with the 100 metre rule can be fined under City Bylaws or the Highway Traffic Act.

If their insurance company has a “preferred list” of tow companies, then drivers should use a company on that list.  It is also important to make sure that the tow truck which arrives is from the company that they called.  A driver can end up personally liable for towing fees if they allow a tow truck from a company they have not called to tow their vehicle.

To avoid unexpected fees, drivers should get a detailed written estimate before accepting a tow. Drivers have the right to say where their vehicle is towed to and this should be included in the written estimate.

For more on what do after a collision visit ottawapolice.ca/collisions.

This blog post was written by Edward (Ted) Masters, a member of the Disability Insurance Claims and Personal Injury teams.  He can be reached at 613-566-2064 or at ted.masters@mannlawyers.com.

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