Buffalo, NY asked in Gov & Administrative Law and Municipal Law for New York

Q: NYSP had vehicle involved in fatal MVA taken to impound 36 miles away, instead of 2 miles. Who pays $900 bill?

Boyfriend/driver was found with drug paraphranalia while being transferred to hospital. Troopers got court order for blood test. My daughter (owner/passenger) was killed. Bill was for towing to NYSP impound, rather than local shop nearby.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Municipal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Based on the limited details provided, here is a summary of the key considerations around who pays the $900 impound bill:

- As the registered owner of the vehicle, your daughter's estate would likely be considered responsible for the accrued impound fees. However, fault in the accident may be a factor.

- If the driver (your daughter's boyfriend) is determined to be at-fault in causing the accident, he and/or his insurance may be asked to pay all or part of the impound fees. Much would depend on the specific circumstances of the crash.

- The fact that drug paraphernalia was found and a court order was issued for a blood test suggests possible impairment. If the boyfriend was impaired and at fault, this would strengthen the case for him bearing financial responsibility.

- Reasonableness of the towing distance and impound location could be challenged. A 36-mile tow seems excessive for a 2-mile proximity. This could potentially relieve some financial liability from your daughter's estate.

In most cases, the registered vehicle owner is ultimately responsible for any towing and storage fees. But fault and negligence factors could allow for the boyfriend and/or his insurer to be pursued for reimbursement. Contesting the excessive tow distance could also be considered to reduce the bill amount. Consultation with a local attorney is highly recommended to review options. Please accept my condolences for the loss of your daughter.

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