What to do if I got into a car accident and the company who towed my car won’t let me get my house keys and credit cards?

UPDATED: Feb 15, 2012

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What to do if I got into a car accident and the company who towed my car won’t let me get my house keys and credit cards?

Asked on February 15, 2012 under Accident Law, Mississippi


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

That is your property--they have no right to it.

You can contact the police, explain that they have taken your property without your permission, and ask the police to help you get it back. They should help, in a case like this.

However, if the police refuse to help, claiming, for example, that it is a civil matter, not a criminal one (e.g. they feel, even if incorrectly, that it's a dispute or disagreement as to who has the right to the property, not a crime), you'll have to sue to get your belongings. Since lawsuits can be expensive and can take time--even moving for a temporary restaining order, the fastest form of relief, can take days, or a week or more, you may wish instead to do the following:

1) Cancel your credit card and have a new one reissued;

2) Change the locks on your house;

3) Then sue the towing company for the cost of 1) and 2).

The advantage of doing this is that you should be able to sue for these costs in small claims court, where you can act  as your own attorney. However, if you are trying to get a court order requiring the towing company to turn your belongings over to you, while you are allowed to represent yourself (sue "pro se"), that is a much more complicated proceeding--it can be difficult for a non-lawyer.  So changing the card and locks prevents theft and then presents you with a simpler court case for reimbursement.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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