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Towing-Who Should Pay

Motorcycle Accident Claim in California

California Motorcycle Law

After an accident, the first questions most people ask are where is my motorcycle? How will it be moved?

Generally, your motorcycle will be towed to a wrecking yard or tow yard and they will attempt to hold it hostage and keep it there for as long as possible. Under California law, only you as the registered owner can "release" your motorcycle to have it moved to a fee-free storage location. Sometimes our clients? motorcycles are inoperable and require additional towing to a fee free lot.

We always recommend that you mitigate your damages by having your motorcycle released from the tow yard moved to a "fee-free" location. "Released" means that you simply call the town yard and "release" your motorcycle to the insurance company. You may have to pay for your towing expenses and the storage expenses, but you will mitigate or reduce your out-of-pocket expenses by moving your bike ASAP. 3

If your motorcycle is towed, you are personally responsible for the towing and storage bills. The towing company will take your motorcycle from the scene of the accident and expect you to provide payment. Therefore, you may have to pay for your motorcycle to be towed out-of-pocket and then seek reimbursement for those expenses. Nothing gets you reimbursement faster than a good strong letter from a motorcycle attorney.

Most of our motorcycle clients do not have rental or towing insurance coverage. In California, all a motorcycle rider needs is an M1 Motorcycle Endorsement on their license and liability insurance for their motorcycle. However, some of our clients do not have liability insurance because it is a new bike, the insurance is expired, or they are riding an uninsured motorcycle owned by friend. The mere fact that you have no towing coverage or liability insurance does not preclude you from getting compensation for your medical bills, property damage, rental, and towing expenses. (You may, however, be precluded from obtaining compensation for pain and suffering. This will be discussed later.)

If you are injured in the accident and are unable to drive or if your motorcycle cannot be driven because of extensive damage, your insurance company may offer to arrange to have your motorcycle towed to a repair shop. The repair shop will then add the towing bill to your repair bill and will become part of the charges to be reimbursed by the insurance company for the driver at fault. This is called a subrogation action.

After we receive your towing and storage bills, we will seek reimbursement from your own insurance company (if you have towing and storage coverage) or the negligent party?s auto insurance company, or, if no coverage, we may seek payment directly from the negligent driver at fault.


Tom Reinecke

California Motorcycle Lawyer