| Read Time: 4 minutes | Car Accidents
how to find out where my car was towed after an accident

Discovering that your car was towed following an accident can add extra layers of stress and confusion to an already difficult situation. Whether you’re dealing with the aftermath of a minor fender bender or a more severe collision, understanding the process and what steps to take next can significantly ease your mind. Here’s what you need to know if your car gets towed after a collision, with or without your permission.

What Should I Do Before My Car Gets Towed?

Remember that you may have the car towed wherever you like. That includes sending it to a trusted mechanic. However, even when you don’t have your car towed after an accident without permission, there are a few steps you should take before it leaves the scene.

1. Get Pictures of the Car and the Accident Scene

It’s essential to take pictures and videos of your car and the crash scene right after it happens. Evidence of your vehicle in the aftermath, debris and all, shows the severity of the accident, something that is difficult to replicate after they move the car to a tow lot or elsewhere.

Make sure to capture both your car and any other cars involved, how the accident area looks, and specific things like intersections, broken traffic lights, or ignored street signs. Memories fade, especially when dealing with the stress of an accident, so having these visuals is a big help.

2. Ask the Towing Company for Their Contact Information

Whether it seems straightforward or unnecessary, ask for the tow company’s information after an accident. Without it, you could waste valuable time on hold with the police trying to find who towed your car. Unfortunately, this may be unavoidable if your accident incapacitates you. 

3. Copy Down the Other Driver’s Insurance Information

Verifying whether the other driver has insurance is crucial before your car gets towed. California is an at-fault state, meaning the other driver’s insurance is responsible for paying any towing or storage fees. However, if they don’t have insurance, you may end up footing the bill if you don’t let your insurance company know. 

What Happens When Your Car Gets Towed After an Accident?

In California, in the event of a car accident, the responsible motorist (and their insurance provider) is typically liable for all resulting costs, including towing and storage fees. However, coverage for these fees may vary depending on your insurance plan, with some policies requiring additional roadside assistance coverage.

After a car accident, if the police deem your vehicle unsafe to drive, obstructs traffic, or you are incapacitated, law enforcement or authorized personnel may decide to have your car towed without your explicit permission. This step ensures public safety and to clear the roadway for normal traffic flow. The decision on where to tow your car can vary depending on local laws, the condition of the vehicle, and agreements with towing companies.

Why Would a Car Be Impounded After an Accident?

A car may be impounded after an accident for several reasons, including if it is blocking the road, if there is no insurance on the vehicle, or if the driver was driving under the influence. Impoundment can also occur if the car is considered evidence in a criminal investigation. Understanding the specific reasons can help you address the necessary steps to retrieve your vehicle.

How to Find Out Where My Car Was Towed After an Accident 

If you find yourself in the situation of having your car towed after an accident without permission, here are the steps you can follow to locate it:

  • Contact local law enforcement. The first step in determining how to find out where your car was towed after an accident is to contact the local police department. They should have a record of the tow and can inform you of the location of your vehicle.
  • Check with nearby towing companies. Sometimes, if the police don’t have this information immediately available, calling nearby towing services can help you quickly find out where your car was towed after an accident.
  • Use online resources. Some cities have online systems where you can search for towed vehicles by license plate or VIN which can be an efficient way to find out who towed your vehicle.

Of course, if you can’t find your car after following these steps, we highly recommend contacting an attorney. Your vehicle is one of the most essential pieces of evidence for your claim, so it’s crucial to locate it quickly.

What Happens When I Get to the Lot?

When you get to the impound lot, to get your car back you must show your driver’s license, proof that you own the car, insurance, and registration. You might also have to fill out some forms. Generally, it’s best to get your vehicle out of storage as soon as possible, even if the insurance company covers the towing and storage fees.

Car Accident Towing FAQs

Had your car towed after your accident? Here are some of the most common questions we see about car towing following a crash.

Is Towing Long Distance Bad for Your Car?

Towing a car, especially over long distances, can impact its condition, depending on how it’s towed. Flatbed towing is generally safer and reduces the risk of damage, especially if you have an automatic transmission.

How Far Can an Automatic Car Be Towed? 

An automatic car should not be towed with its drive wheels on the road for more than a short distance. This distance varies between manufacturers, but it’s not recommended to tow an automatic car this way for more than 15 miles. Doing so can cause significant damage to the transmission. A flatbed truck is more appropriate for longer distances.

Does Towing Damage Transmission?

Improperly towing a vehicle can damage the transmission, especially for automatic cars. Using a flatbed tow truck helps prevent this type of damage.

Peerali Law Knows How Overwhelming the Days After an Accident Are

The days following an accident are some of the most difficult and stressful days for victims. At Peerali Law, we understand how difficult this situation is. That’s why we are dedicated to helping manage every aspect of your case personally so that you may focus on recovery.

For us, nothing is more important than treating our clients like family. If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, we’re here to help. For a free consultation, fill out our contact form or give us a call at (818) 688-4050

Author Photo

Kristopher earned his J.D. at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law where he was a member of the Review of Law and Social Justice honors law journal and was awarded several scholastic honors.

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