If you have legally parked your vehicle, you expect it to be there when you come back. Of course, mistakes can happen. The wrong car could be taken even though you are not breaking any rules. There are steps you can take to recover the fees you’ve had to spend to get your automobile back if it’s been involved in a wrongful towing case.
The first thing you need to do when you come out and find your car gone is collect evidence. You need to take photos of the area where you parked. You also need to take pictures of any signage in the area. Make sure these images are clear and show what the signs say. The most common complaint is there “wasn’t a sign.” This may be true, but you need to prove that there was nothing indicating that you should not have parked there.
In addition to getting photos of the area, you need to talk to anyone who may have seen your car towed. Witnesses are a good thing, and they can help confirm that you did indeed park legally. Get their names and contact information. Also, note what time you parked the vehicle and what time you came back to your spot.
Go Get Your Car
You don’t have to wait until the hearing to get your car back. The company who has your vehicle has the right to charge you a daily storage fee and those costs can rack up quickly. You should contact the company immediately upon finding your vehicle missing. If there is a sign, there will be a number for you to call. If there is no sign, you should call your local police department. Most states require storage companies to inform officials within a couple of hours of receiving the car. Do not call 911.
When you go to pick up the car, be polite. Of course, you will most likely be aggravated and even a little angry, but taking it out on the clerk is not going to help your case. Chances are you are being video recorded, which could come back to haunt you during your hearing. You will have to pay to receive your vehicle. However, you do not have to waive their liability for damage done to your car. When signing your paperwork, cross out any verbiage that relieves them of this liability. Make notes as to whom you spoke with during your visit.
Verify That You Were a Victim of Wrongful Towing
The law varies from state to state on what signs and notices have to be posted. All states require some sort of warning, but the exact nature can be confusing. You can find this information online. However, if you are still confused, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney. They can look at the evidence you have and help you determine if the car was illegally taken.
The law can be confusing, so you shouldn’t wait to do your research. The period to request a hearing is limited.
Request a Hearing
In order to have your case heard, you need to request a towing hearing. In most states, this is brought before a justice of the peace. He or she will hear all evidence and witnesses and determine if you were parked illegally. If he or she rules in your favor, he or she will order restitution of funds.
You only have 14 days to request a wrongful towing hearing. Once requested, the hearing will take place within 21 days of the request date. It is quicker and more cost effective than suing for damages.