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Should I leave my damaged car at the impound lot while the insurance company decides whether to accept liability?

Posted by Raj Chohan | Apr 05, 2019

In most cases you should not leave your damaged car at the impound lot for more than a few days. It will be accruing storage fees of $25-$35 or more per day. If you let your car sit there, some liability insurance carriers will try to make you pay a portion of the storage fees from your settlement. This is because you have a duty under the law to mitigate or lessen your damages. This means if you can afford to remove your car from impound, you should do so at your earliest opportunity, particularly if the insurance carrier is dragging its feet on accepting liability.  You will likely be reimbursed for this cost once the insurance carrier has determined that the crash was caused by their insured driver.  

If the auto insurance carrier has accepted liability you will want to make sure that you go down to the tow yard and sign paperwork releasing the vehicle to the insurance carrier so that there will be no delay when the insurance company tries to pick-up your vehicle for repair or salvage. Any delay caused by you may embolden the insurance company to deduct the additional storage fees from your settlement. Once the insurance company has accepted liability, the carrier will usually arrange for your vehicle to be towed to a repair shop or other storage facility controlled by the insurer.

You will likely not be charged a storage fee if your car was involved in a very serious crash that resulted in criminal charges against the at-fault driver, assuming you are not the party at-fault.  This is because the investigating police agency will likely hold your car to preserve evidence and to conduct additional investigation. Crimes that fit into this category may include vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, first-degree and second-degree assault, felony menacing and perhaps even felony DUI if the circumstances were particularly aggravated.  When police hold your vehicle for evidentiary purposes, either the police department or the district attorney's office will usually (but not always) absorb the storage charge. Make sure to follow up with the storage yard and the police and prosecutor's office to make sure you are not being charged a daily storage fee during the pendency of the criminal case. Once the case is over and the evidence has been released, you will have to pick up your vehicle from impound or you may be charged a fee for every day the car remains in storage after it has been released from evidence by the district attorney.

The Max Law Firm is well equipped to help you with your traffic injury case. The firm will provide advice on the property damage portion of your claim as well.  There are numerous decisions that must be made after a car crash.  Having an attorney who understands the process, pitfalls and traps will allow you to get through this very stressful time with the assurance that your rights and interests are being protected. The Max stands ready to fight for the compensation your case deserves. For a free consultation call 720-699-8268.

About the Author

Raj Chohan

Raj Chohan is a personal injury attorney with a passion for helping injured Coloradans seek the compensation they deserve and the justice their cases demand. He is a former prosecutor with extensive jury trial experience in some of the most complex and serious cases that exist under Colorado law...