Been In a Collision? Know Your Rights

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BLIND RIVER, ON – Getting your car towed can turn into a nightmare if you don’t know your rights. With more and more criminals looking to scam people at the roadside, find out what you can do to protect yourself.

The East Algoma Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), has received information of tow truck operators distributing business cards within the East Algoma OPP area stating they are an “Ontario Provincial Police Approved Towing Service.”

The OPP wants to remind the public that the OPP does not approve tow truck drivers nor are they affiliated with them. If you ask the police to contact a tow truck on your behalf, the OPP contacts a Towing Association that maintains a list of tow operators in the area. When contacted, the next available tow is then called out by the Tow Association.

The OPP would like to offer some tips in knowing your rights when you’ve been in a collision so that you can protect yourself next time you’re in need of a tow:

  • You have the right to decide who can tow your vehicle and to what location (unless otherwise directed by police).
  • Call your insurance company for direction on tow companies, repairs and car rentals.
  • A “permission to tow” form must be signed before towing starts.
  • The towing company must provide you with an itemized invoice before receiving payment.
  • You are entitled to a receipt for tow services rendered.
  • You have the right to pay by credit card if you choose.
  • Decline offers to store your vehicle in a tow compound unless directed by your insurer.
  • Never sign a blank contract or take referrals from tow companies. Tow companies only tow.

IN THE EVENT OF A COLLISION:

  • Call your insurance company and use this form to record important details you may need for the police or to file an insurance claim.
  • Keep a tip sheet in your car – just in case.

CALL THE POLICE IF:

  • Someone is injured.
  • You think any other driver may be guilty of a Criminal Code offence, such as impaired driving.
  • You suspect you’re the victim of a staged collision.
  • There is damage over $2000.
  • There is damage to public and private property.
  • The other driver fails to remain at the scene.
  • If it’s safe, move your car to the side of the road. If you can’t drive your car, turn on your hazard lights or use cones, warning triangles or flares.
  • When involved in a collision, determining fault is not your priority – your safety is.

Do not sign any documents regarding fault or commit to pay for the damages. Call your
insurance representative for more information. Depending on the jurisdiction where your collision occurred, you may have to take your vehicle to a Collision Reporting Centre.

RECORD THE DETAILS:
Location of Collision: ______________________________
Date: _____________________________ Time: _______
Other vehicle(s): __________________________________
Name of driver(s): _________________________________
License Plate # of other vehicle(s): ___________________
Contact information (phone # / e-mail): ______________
_________________________________________________
Driver’s licence #: __________________________________
Name of insurance company: ________________________
Insurance policy #: ________________________________
Police officer(s) at the scene
Name(s): ________________________________________
Badge number(s): _________________________________

If safe to do so, you may take photos at the scene with your cellphone.