Can I recover my personal belongings at no cost to me from a tow yard?

UPDATED: May 22, 2012

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Can I recover my personal belongings at no cost to me from a tow yard?

My car was totalled in an accident. The person at fault drove away. My car was towed away and I was not given the opportunity to retrieve my personal belongings at that time. I only have liability for my insurance. I just want to get the stuff from my car but the yard says that I have to pay them before I can.

Asked on May 22, 2012 under Accident Law, New Jersey


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If your vehicle was in an accident and towed to an auto storgage yard with your personal effects within, the owner of the tow yard is obligated under the law to provide you an opportunity to access your car to retrieve your possessions after proper identification is presented at no charge.

If the tow yard refuses to allow you access to your vehicle to retrieve your belongings, you would possibly have grounds for a lawsuit against the yard for the fair market value of the items you may end up losing located in your vehicle.

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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