If my car was towed because of a police officer’s mistake, how can I get the tow fee’s waived?

UPDATED: Jan 13, 2012

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If my car was towed because of a police officer’s mistake, how can I get the tow fee’s waived?

I driving with an out of state license. The vehicle was registered and my license was active. However a cop pulled me over and said neither my car or the license were registered/active. Then the cop called a towing company and had my car towed and left me in middle of nowhere. I was told to get a new license and come back. So I did and went back with it as soon I could. I even had all the documents that proves that my vehicle was and is registered as well as my original license. I had no fault. However the detectives at the police station did not waive my tow fees which came out to almost $500. Why should I have to pay for the officer’s mistake? I do not have $500 and my car is still at the tow yard. What can be done?

Asked on January 13, 2012 under General Practice, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If your car was improperly towed you cannot get the costs of the towing waived in that most likely a private towing company towed your vehicle and not the police department. As such, the bill of $500 or so is the towing company's bill and it wants to get paid.

If you want your vehicle back, you need to pay the towing company for its charges. If you want reimbursement for the costs that you incurred for your vehicle, you need to submit a claim under your state's tort claims act to the town/city where the police officer is employed.

Depending upon the claim, it may or may not be approved. If approved, you get your costs incurred to obtain the release of your car back. If the claim is denied, you need to bring a lawsuit against the police department that caused you the problems, most likely in small claims court.

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