SUE THEM!

Lawyers ad­vise mo­torists to take ac­tion if their ve­hi­cles are dam­aged while be­ing towed

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Corey Robin­son Staff Reporter corey.robin­son@glean­erjm.com

MO­TORISTS WHOSE ve­hi­cles are dam­aged while be­ing re­moved by wrecker op­er­a­tors are be­ing en­cour­aged to seek le­gal re­course for the dam­ages.

Vet­eran at­tor­ney-at-law Bert Samuels and his younger col­league, at­tor­ney Ja­son Jones, last week agreed that the mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils, and the wrecker com­pa­nies they em­ploy to tow ve­hi­cles, are ob­li­gated to en­sure that the ve­hi­cles are han­dled with care dur­ing the process.

“Al­though you are parked in vi­o­la­tion of the law, they still have a duty of care to make sure your ve­hi­cle is in good con­di­tion, the very con­di­tion in which it was when they lifted it,” Samuels told The Sun­day Gleaner.

“So you have an ac­tion against the Kingston and St An­drew Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (KSAMC), and if you know the par­tic­u­lar com­pa­nies be­ing em­ployed by the KSAMC you can join both of them in the law­suit and both of them would be re­spon­si­ble,” added Samuels.

PRO­FES­SIONAL DUTY

He ar­gued that the mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion has a duty to en­sure that it em­ploys pro­fes­sional wrecker com­pa­nies.

Ac­cord­ing to Samuels, he han­dled one such case in which a mo­torist’s ve­hi­cle was dam­aged while be­ing towed away. “That was set­tled out of court. When we wrote to the wrecker com­pany they paid with­out us go­ing to court. But the prin­ci­ple is there.”

For his part, Jones is urg­ing mo­torists to have their ve­hi­cle as­sessed by a pro­fes­sional me­chanic be­fore they seek le­gal ac­tion.

“Af­ter get­ting an assess­ment, they can bring a claim against the rel­e­vant author­ity for dam­age to the ve­hi­cle, and also any ex­penses in­curred as a re­sult of the ve­hi­cle be­ing dam­aged,” said Jones.

“So if they didn’t have the ve­hi­cle to use for a while they can claim for loss of use and also ex­penses paid to fix the ve­hi­cle,” added Jones.

Last week, the op­er­a­tor of a com­pany which of­fers wreck­ing ser­vices, who asked not to be named, told The Sun­day Gleaner that his work­ers are trained on how to care­fully re­move ve­hi­cles.

“I don’t know about oth­ers, but our staff mem­bers are trained, and if some­one has a claim that their ve­hi­cle is dam­aged while be­ing towed, we are will­ing to get to the bot­tom of it,” he said.

IAN ALLEN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

A wreck­ing com­pany tows away a ve­hi­cle al­legedly il­le­gally parked in down­town Kingston.

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