Has your car been illegally towed in the state of Florida? Call Fulgencio Law to protect your rights today.
In Florida, property owners and businesses are allowed to tow vehicles off their property when parked without permission. Most tow truck drivers are honest and hardworking people. They come to save the day when your car is broken down or you have been in an accident. They take you and your car to safety. Tow trucks are also used to clear the city streets and private parking lots of illegally parked vehicles.
Unfortunately, not all tow truck drivers are as honest. Illegally towed vehicles are becoming more and more common in and around the Tampa Bay area and throughout the state of Florida. These predators patrol private parking lots for a vehicle to tow without the presence of a property owner, refusing to unconditionally release a vehicle to the owner before it has been removed from the private property, and unlawfully taking a vehicle within one hour of parking.
If you believe that you or a loved one are a victim of an illegal or wrongful towing, our team of illegally towing attorneys at Fulgencio Law may be able to help. We represent clients of illegal and wrongful towing throughout the state of Florida, and consistently accept cases involving the wrongful or illegal towing of vehicles. Call us today for your free consultation to answer any questions you may have about your situation and help you determine if you are a victim of illegal towing.
What Can I Do If My Car Has Been Towed?
Anyone who tows a vehicle must comply with Florida Statutes. Florida has enacted important legislation regulating the towing of vehicles from private property. In Tampa, aside from Florida Statute 715.07, towing companies must abide by the Hillsborough County Public Transportation. If your car does in fact get towed in Tampa, Florida, you need to know what you can do.
- If you park your car and it is gone when you return to the spot where you originally parked it, you can contact local police and report the car as missing. Tow truck drivers are legally required to take photographic evidence of the violation and notify the police within 30 minutes of the completed tow, and the police will be able to tell you what company towed your car and where it is being stored.
- If the tow truck driver is in the process of towing your vehicle when you come out of the building, the driver must agree to lower your vehicle and charge only half of the locally allotted rate.
- Your vehicle may be towed if it’s blocking a driveway, entrance to a business, or if the parking of the car interferes with the normal operation of the business. If this is the case, even though you feel that your car is being towed wrongfully, don’t argue with the tow truck driver. Pay the amount demanded, and make sure that you get a receipt.
- If a vehicle is not retrieved from the towing company’s lot in a set amount of time, the towing company may charge storage fees. Even if your car was illegally towed, delaying to retrieve your vehicle is not a good idea. The longer your car sits in the towing company’s lot, the higher the storage fee will be, or if you wait too long, your car can be sold to cover the fees. Bring proper identification to prove ownership of the vehicle.
- You have the right to inspect your car before accepting its return. If your car was in fact damaged in the towing process, the owner of the towing company is liable for the damages.
Parking At Condominiums in Florida
Most condominium associations have designated visitor parking areas. A condominium is a type of housing, usually attached, where the owners own their unit and a portion of the private land that it sits on. Sometimes, a condominium association’s governing documents require residents to have parking passes, stickers, or some other form of identification to park in assigned spots on the property.
If a vehicle is parked in an assigned spot without the proper pass, sticker, or other identification as required, then the association can have the vehicle towed. If the condominium association’s documents are silent on visitor parking requirements, then it may not have the authority to tow from that assigned visitor parking area. When a condominium association tows without proper authority, it may be subject to liability for expenses and damages just as owners of commercial properties are.
Proper Signage For Private Parking
Those who own or lease private property are required to have proper signage at every and exit of the parking lot. For the towing to be lawful, there must be a notice posted meeting several requirements. The notice must be prominently placed on the property. The notice must clearly indicate that unauthorized vehicles will be towed away at the owner’s expense. The words “tow-away zone” must be included on the sign.
The notice must also provide the name and current telephone number of the person or firm towing or removing the vehicles. The notice must be permanently installed not less than 3 feet and not more than 6 feet above ground level. Furthermore, the notice must also have lettering that is not less than 2-inch high in light-reflective letters on a contrasting background.
Providing that the proper notice is posted, a business owner may authorize the removal of a vehicle by a towing company when the vehicle “is parked in such a manner that restricts the normal operation of the business.” If you’re parking at a business, the best thing to do is be sure that you’re going into the same business or not leaving the property of that business.
Parking spots in smaller lots for businesses can be easily obstructed by those who are illegally parked, not leaving enough spots for potential customers. The person authorizing tows cannot be paid by the tow company. The tow company also cannot pay the property owner for the privilege of towing.
If you or a loved one had a vehicle that was illegally towed, you’re going to need an experienced Florida illegal towing attorney on your side. At Fulgencio law, our team of dedicated Tampa illegal towing attorneys will stand by your side to help you with your case. Contact us today for your free, no-obligation, and confidential consultation, or schedule your consultation online at your earliest convenience.
How Can I Tell If My Car Was Illegally Towed?
Having your car towed is an experience that nobody wants to have to go through. If you return to your original parking spot to find that your car was towed, you need to ask yourself a few questions to determine whether your car was towed legally:
- Did the parking lot display signs at the entrance and the exit of the parking loth that indicating that there was a “tow-away zone”?
- Did the parking lot display signs that provided vehicle owners with information about where their automobile was towed to and was being stored? Was a phone number provided for the towing company?
- Did the parking lot properly display signs that indicated that vehicles that were not authorized would be towed at the vehicle owners expense?
- Did your vehicle get towed after you correctly paid to park in their private parking lot? Was there a sign that instructed you to leave your receipt on the dash to prove that you paid?
- Did you get an itemized, detailed, and signed receipt?
- Did you call the police only to learn that the towing company never notified the police that your vehicle was towed?
Additionally, there are some towing companies that charge improper or extra fees before they let the owner of the vehicle get their vehicle back. This is a direct violation of state and/or county laws. To find out if you were charged improper or excess fees, you need to ask yourself:
- If the vehicle was retrieved within business hours, was there a charge for “after-hours” or “gate” fees?
- Were storage fees applied, but the vehicle was retrieved within a 24-hour time period?
- Was there a charge for “special equipment” when no special equipment was used?
- Were “after-hours” or “gate” fees charged even though the vehicle was retrieved within 3 hours after being towed?
After asking yourself these questions, you will be able to tell if your car was illegally towed. Be sure to document where and when you parked your vehicle if your car was improperly impounded from a private Tampa-area parking lot or legal parking spot. Hold onto any proof of payment from when you picked up your impounded vehicle if you paid fees that you believe were improper.
Your next step is to contact an experienced Florida illegal towing attorney as soon as possible. Our skilled dand knowledgeable team of illegal towing lawyers at Fulgencio Law is consistently accepting illegal towing cases, and we are here to answer any questions you may have about your situation. Call us today for a free, no-obligation, and confidential consultation, or schedule your consultation online at your earliest convenience.
Can I Sue For Illegal Towing In Florida?
If you suspect you or your loved one have been towed illegally, file a criminal complaint with your local law enforcement agency. Report which provision of state statute 715.07 you believe was violated. Illegal towing is considered a criminal misdemeanor of the first degree and/or a felony of the third degree for improper towing. And if that isn’t enough, you can turn to small claims court, armed with the state statutes in-hand. The state statutes even allow victims of wrongful towing to collect damages and attorney’s fees if victorious in court.
Sometimes, it pays to just be nice, and many towing companies pride themselves in their customer service. Contact the towing company to see if they will be willing to work with you over your dispute in order to avoid a lawsuit.
If your car was damaged in the process of being towed, the tow truck driver or the owner of the towing company can be held liable for your damages. Whether your car is being towed legally or illegally, a tow truck driver is expected to take the necessary precautionary measures to essentially prevent your car from being damaged Common damages that can occur while a car is being towed can include:
- Scratches to the exterior of a car
- Deflated tires
- Car alignment issues
- Bumper damage
- Windshield damage
Take pictures of any damage you see to your vehicle that has occurred during the towing process. If you can prove that the towing company used incorrect towing procedures while handling your vehicle, then your case will be much stronger. With the help of a skillful Florida wrongful towing attorney, you may be able to recover the cost to repair the car.
If you’re able to prove that your or your loved one’s vehicle was towed illegally, contact our dedicated illegal towing lawyers at Fulgencio Law today with details about your case. You may have the right to demand compensation. Call us for a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation, or schedule your consultation online at your earliest convenience.
Contact an Illegal Towing Attorney In Tampa at Fulgencio Law
Watching the tow truck drive away with your car or coming back to your parking spot only to find it missing is a terrible feeling, especially if you think your car was towed illegally. If you believe that your or your loved one’s car has been wrongfully towed in Tampa, Florida, don’t hesitate to contact Fulgencio Law.
Our dedicated and compassionate team has the experience and resources needed to handle your delicate and unique case. We focus our representation on three main categories: personal injury, consumer protection, and insurance company disputes, all in which we can accurately and efficiently form a case to suit your claim. Our team is a part of the community and has an in-depth knowledge of the area so we can better serve you in your claim.
Call us today at (813)463-0123 to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation. If your car was towed wrongfully in Tampa, Florida, call Fulgencio Law immediately to begin the investigations into your rights for possible damages.