More often than not, whenever a car is towed, it’s usually due to a vehicle owner inadvertently overlooking parking signs or other street signs which is especially common when one is visiting a new part of town the first time.
That’s not to say that cars don’t get towed when parked legally. They do (surprisingly)! Whatever the case, the best thing to do when this happens is to take proactive steps to recover your car as soon as possible. Here is what you should do if your car is towed:
- Preserve any available evidence. Whatever the case, it is advisable to find out if your car was actually meant to be towed in the first place. Take a good look around the area where your car was parked got signs indicating that you should not park your car in particular lot or area on the street. This will come in handy if it happens that your car was towed without warrant. Having any credible witness like nearby business owners and obtaining their contact information would be particularly helpful.
- Get your car back fast. Find contact information for the tow company in that area from posted signs are by calling the police on a non emergency line. Avoid calling 911. Once you determine the location of your car, go recover it immediately before taking other steps or actions. In doing so, be vigilant when signing any documentation and avoid signing anything which contains clauses that may prevent you from taking any legal actions against the tow company. The earlier you recover your car, the less you have to pay in storage charges.
- Determine if your car was supposed to be towed in the first place. Go through available paperwork and relevant laws to determine if your car was actually parked in a “tow away zone” when it was towed. A quick way to do this, is to ascertain the presence and nature of parking restrictions in the place where the car was towed. You can seek the services of relevant legal experts to help you with this. Beware that some parking restrictions are time based: they are only in effect at particular times of the day.
- File for a hearing if you are convinced that your car was wrongfully towed. For a filing fee of $20, you are entitled to a hearing by a justice of the peace within the jurisdiction where your car was towed no more than 21 days from the day of filing. To get a hearing request granted, you are expected to file no more than 14 days from the day when your car was towed. Depending on the outcome of the hearing, you will either have all fees and charges paid fully refunded to you, or you may be made to pay for the cost of the hearing. For this reason, be sure to only request a hearing if you are fully positive that your car was towed in error.
Even where there are no obvious signs, to avoid having your car towed, always lookout for the obvious indicators of parking violations. Being aware of them will help you always avoid inadvertently parking in “no parking” zones. Some common things to avoid:
- Parking your car in such a way that it will obstruct traffic.
- Blocking a fire hydrant.
- Blocking the access to a sidewalk or handicap ramp.
- Parking a car that can be considered illegal to drive (tints that are too dark, broken tail lights, etc) anywhere other than your own private property.