What to do if my car was totaled and the insurance company is telling me I have to pay the $1000 impound fee even though it’s the other drivers fault?

UPDATED: Apr 10, 2012

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What to do if my car was totaled and the insurance company is telling me I have to pay the $1000 impound fee even though it’s the other drivers fault?

I have been trying to get this problem solved for a month but the insurance company has been giving me the run around by not returning my calls and by telling me I have to wait for the adjuster to contact me. My own insurance company has been equally unhelpful because I only have liability insurance on that vehicle. The police report clearly states the other driver is at fault and he was given a citation. Is there anything I can do to keep from paying the impound fee and keep from being taken advantage of by this company.

Asked on April 10, 2012 under Accident Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Insurance is a contract--the insurer has to pay only those costs or expenses covered by the policy. If you only bought liability insurance, then your own insurer would not have to pay any impound costs.

As for  the other party and their insurer: you can seek to recover all costs or losses which you suffered as a result of the actions of an at-fault (e.g. negligent or careless) driver. You do not have to accept that the other driver's insurance is not helping you or responding to you--you can sue the other driver, if you believe he or she was at fault, to try to recover all your losses and costs, including the impound fee.

However, that is the only way to recover this money--to bring a lawsuit, then prove that the other driver was at fault and caused the impound. That will not help you, as a practical matter, recover your car from impound--if you have to pay an impound fee, then you will likely have to pay it first, then seek recovery or reimbursement of it.

Alternately, if  you feel the fee is illegitimate--unconscionably high, being applied unfairly, etc.--you could try suing the company impounding your car, seekinig a court order forcing them to turn it over and also a judicial declaration of what a fair fee would be. Note though that if their fee is typical for impounds of this type and duration, then you would likely not succeed on this basis.

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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