There’s never a convenient time to get into a car accident. In the aftermath of a collision, you have to deal with stress, emotional turmoil, injuries, and what to do about your car. But what about your personal belongings after the accident? Have they been damaged? Are they lost? Let’s examine what you can do, in the aftermath of your car accident.
What Happens to Your Personal Belongings in a Car Accident?
In serious vehicle accidents, your car may be subject to getting towed. If your collision is serious enough to warrant a trip to the hospital via an ambulance, then the last thing you may be thinking about is your purse, wallet, billfold or other personal belongings. Typically, the police will call the towing company and have them tow your vehicle for you. Even if you were not injured, you may still have your car towed. Should this be the case, you want to take your personal belongings out of your car.
Getting Your Belongings After Your Tow
Typically the emergency staff will not go through your car for valuable belongings and possessions. Your personal belongings and possessions are left in the car as it is towed away with the vehicle. Towing companies are required to keep your personal possessions with the car for inventory purposes- and then give them back to you. The tow truck company is not permitted to take your belongings and then permanently remove them. After you are out of the emergency room or the hospital, you may be able to claim your vehicle. You may have to pay for storage and towing fees too. Oftentimes, car accident victims are not able to afford those storage and towing fees. If this is the case for you, then you may be able to request to receive your belongings form the vehicle- in an effort to pay what you owe.
What If You Do Not Receive All of Your Possessions Back?
Maybe you received your purse back, but your wallet is missing. Or just before your accident, you went shopping and bought some items. You placed them in your back seat. But after getting your vehicle back, they’re not there. Check out what to do below.
Write Down All Of The Items That Are Missing – What To Do If My Personal Belongings Were Lost Or Damaged in A Car Accident
Now that you are back from ER and you are semi-stable, you can write down all of the items that are missing, after receiving your personal belongings back. Are you missing a wallet? Did you purchase a new pair of jeans and place them in the back of your car, only to have them gone after the accident? Jot down all of the missing belongings that you have.
Contact the Police Regarding the Missing Items
Contact the police regarding your missing items. You want to file a report. Chances are, the police officer that met you at the scene of your accident, gave you his/her business card, badge number and phone number. Now that you have that information, you can pass along your list of missing personal belongings and have that police officer trace them. Be as detailed as you can. If you are missing your smartphone or wallet, write down a description of the item and have the police find out what happened to it. The officer will be able to track down your missing belongings- especially if you have a detailed description of all that was in your car, before your accident.
Can I Sue The Tow Company for Missing Personal Property from My Vehicle?
You surely can sue. But it may be a difficult case to prove. So, take the time to gather all of your receipts together for the items that you claim were stolen. In many cases, you can work with police and see if they can help Typically, they can and will try to ask the tow truck company what happened to your belongings. For example, not many folks drive around without a wallet. So, a wallet will be a legitimate claim, if that is one of the items that was stolen or lost. Also, if you used your debit or credit card to buy items that are now lost or stolen, you can prove you bought them with your statements. So, show that to the police as well. If need be, you may have to take the tow truck company to small claims court. It may be a difficult case to prove, but you never know. The issue is, you have no idea who may have taken your items. So, try your best to account for all things that you can.
Tips for Gathering And Keeping Track Of Personal Belongings in Your Vehicle
Check out these tips for ensuring that your personal belongings are not lost after an accident.
Try not to drive around with valuables
These days, it really doesn’t pay to have valuables in the car. But if you have to take a driving trip to get a piece of jewelry fixed, then you certainly cannot avoid a valuable in the car. If you can, try to keep valuables out of the car as much as possible. Don’t drive around with huge amounts of money, jewelry and other items that cost lots of money. Keep those things at home.
Take Your Belongings with you After the Accident
If you are able to, take your belongings out of your car after the accident. For example, if your friend, brother or sister is coming to pick you up after the accident, be sure that you take the time to grab your wallet, purse, billfold before exiting the car.
Have A Safe in Your Car – What To Do If My Personal Belongings Were Lost Or Damaged in A Car Accident
In the event that you do have to drive with valuables in your car, it may be to your advantage to place those items in a safe. Safes are not that expensive and you can store them in your trunk, under your seat or even in the back of your car. After you get in your car, place your items in your safe. Then, keep the combination at home and put it to memory. Folks are less prone to steal a safe- and your items will stay secure.