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Your Rights Against Towing Companies

    2 minute read

    illegally towed - red car getting towed

    Having your car towed is an annoyance and an expense. While you certainly have reason to be upset, resolving the situation is easier when you understand your rights. While the regulations (and thus your rights) will vary slightly from one state, city or jurisdiction to another, these basic tips can help you prepare to face the immediate issues as well as those that may crop up in the days and weeks ahead.

    • Look at Local Tow Law

    As mentioned before, the law differs from place to place, but generally there must be a sign, it must be conspicuous and it must be made of a weatherproof material. If this is not the local law, find out what the requirements are instead.

    • Gather Evidence

    illegally towed -  police looking at parked car
    Take pictures of the area from where your car was towed. You need information from any signage (or lack thereof). This can help you determine if your car was illegally towed and whether you will need to just pay the fine or if you should fight back.

    • Get Your Car Back

    There should be a phone number on the sign, if there is not, contact the non-emergency number of your local police department. When you are going through the process of getting your car back, be polite. Even if you plan to fight the fee later down the line, there is no need to be rude now. This will only lead to problems down the line.
    illegally towed -  Car getting towed with owner holding on

    • Obtain Your Stuff

    Even if you can’t afford the fee to reclaim your vehicle, most states allow you access to your belongings—you’ll simply have to go to the lot and ask for access to your vehicle.

    • Exercise Rights to a Tow Hearing

    In most jurisdictions, you will have the right to request a hearing on your towing. You’ll have the opportunity to state your case in front of the justice of the peace and he or she will decide if your car was legally or illegally towed. You may be entitled to a refund of your towing charges.

    If you have questions about the towing laws in your particular state or area, you may want to talk to a lawyer specializing in automobile issues. Additionally, your insurance agent may have advice too—especially if you have towing coverage. If things don’t seem to add up, it is probably worth the effort and expense of working with a professional to help you get through the difficulties of dealing with a towing situation.

    The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.