Is it legal for a tow company to keep my personal possessions if I did not authorize the tow and the car does not belong to me?

UPDATED: Apr 9, 2012

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Is it legal for a tow company to keep my personal possessions if I did not authorize the tow and the car does not belong to me?

I was involved in a car accident while driving my stepfather’s car. The car was towed after I had been taken from the scene to receive medical aid and now the tow company is holding my personal items clothes my sons car seat some legal papers for another matter until I pay them $300. Is there anyway to get my items back without paying and is it legal for them to keep them until the bill is paid?

Asked on April 9, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Indiana


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country, it is improper for the towing company that towed the vehicle that you are writing about to keep your personal items until the $300 is paid. Personal items are different than the presumed towing fee of $300 for the vehicle that is owed.

I would write the towing company a letter demanding access to the car to get your belongings by a certain date. If that is not allowed, your recourse is to consult with an attorney who practices law in the automotive field.

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 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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