Immediately after a car accident, your mind is occupied on your safety and healing, especially if you have injuries. Your next reaction is the thought of your personal possessions like your phone, purse, personal electronic devices and any other expensive or sentimental value items.
When you’re involved in a serious car wreck where you sustained injuries, do you know what happens to your personal possessions? Here’s how to quickly claim the items that are rightfully yours.
Your personal possessions were towed with the car
There are two ways for a vehicle to be towed in Texas after a serious car accident:
Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 86 defines a consent tow as any tow of a motor vehicle in which the tow truck is summoned by the owner or operator of the vehicle or by a person who has possession, custody, or control of the vehicle. The term does not include an incident management tow or a private property tow.
Using this method, you can have the tow truck send the car to a repair shop and pick it up at a later date.
A police-ordered or non-consent tow is another way for a vehicle to be towed after an accident.
In the event you’re unable to direct the police officer as to where to tow the vehicle, law enforcement has towing rights under Texas Transportation Code Section 545.305.
Law enforcement will typically request a tow truck’s services for the safety of other citizens on the road and protect them from damaged vehicles.
If your car was towed by consent, you can simply call the tow company and the repair facility where you asked the tower to take the vehicle. If the repair shop has not started the repairs yet, simply ask if you can recover your personal possessions that were left inside the car after the accident.
If your car was towed by the police, your first stop should be the local police department.
Towing company requirements with non-consent tows
Even though law enforcement initiated the tow because of the car accident, you have rights.
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) governs the requirements of towing companies and storage facilities when it comes to vehicle owners.
First, a towing company must provide you with a copy of the tow ticket and provide a copy to the vehicle storage facility (VSF).
The tow ticket must:
- Only authorize charges directly related to towing the car. The tow ticket must itemize each charge and characterize the fees using the identical fee structure stated in the towing company’s non-consent towing fee schedule on file with the VSF.
- Contain the licensed name of the towing company, publicly-listed telephone number, towing company certificate of registration number, and the TDLR license number of the towing operator.
Next, the towing company must provide you with:
- Its non-consent towing fees schedule to all VSFs where it delivers cars. These fee schedules must be given to the public upon request.
- A statement of consumer rights to a tow hearing.
- The information needed to file for a tow hearing.
Finally, vehicle storage facilities must:
- Provide you with TDLR’s website and email address, mailing address, and telephone number, for purposes of directing complaints about the car storage to the department.
Securing your personal possessions after a tow
Your personal items will always remain with the vehicle until you pick them up, the facility inventories your items with your permission, or you pick up the car after the repairs are complete.
If your car was towed while you were in the hospital, recovering from your accident injuries, and you have no idea where to look, contact the police department for information on the whereabouts of your towed vehicle.
Pay the fees first, or get my personal possessions first?
While your car is in custody of the police department or a tow facility, you may have accumulated a hefty amount in towing and storage fees.
There are options that allow you to take care of those fees, along with other damages resulting from the car accident, including your injuries and medical costs.
One option begins with quality legal representation. When you retain the services of a Corpus Christi car accident lawyer, your lawyer can help you file a strong insurance claim to recover these damages from the at-fault party.
Even if you are unable to pay the towing and storage fees right away, you can still claim your personal possessions, but you should start thinking about hiring a top-notch car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Recover your personal possessions and more with our injury attorneys
If you were able to recover your personal belongings from your vehicle after the car accident, but the storage fees are piling up, call on the experienced Corpus Christi car accident lawyers at The Burkett Law Firm.
We have three-generations of personal injury legal experience helping Texas accident victims recover full damages. Call us today for a free consultation or contact us online to find out more about how we can assist you during this trying time.