The civil legal system in your jurisdiction provides an economic or equitable remedy when you have been personally damaged by another individual or company. Suing a towing company is just like suing any other person or entity. Careful research, documentation, preparation and filing will ensure the best possible outcome when you bring a civil suit against a towing company.
Research the law. Determine how you have been damaged by the towing company. Did its employee act negligently when handling your property? Did an employee purposefully damage your property? Did the company violate a statutory provision on how it must conduct business? Did it violate a contract? You can research your state's judge-made law and statutes at a law library or on the Internet. Law schools and state legislative buildings often have law libraries and there are a variety of Internet sources for researching your state's law.
Gather evidence. When you have determined what laws were violated, you will have to prove the elements of those claims. For each element, you must provide evidence. Evidence can be your own testimony, the testimony of witnesses, any paperwork you have or photographic and video evidence. Also gather evidence that proves the dollar amount of your damages.
Identify the proper court in which to sue. If your claim is for a relatively low dollar amount, you can sue the towing company in small claims court. Visit your state's Supreme Court website to find the statutory minimum for small claims. You can probably represent yourself in small claims court. If your damages exceed the small claims minimum, you will have to file in county or district court. Claims in district and county court probably require the advice of a lawyer.
Identify the appropriate party to sue. If you were damaged by the towing company's employee, you still want to sue the company, because it is usually responsible for the actions of its employees and will have more resources to pay your award. Identify how the towing company is organized by looking it up on your secretary of state's website. This website should provide the official name under which the company is organized.
File the appropriate pleadings. The first pleading will be the complaint and it will make the claim and state how all of the elements of the claim are met. Depending on how the towing company responds to your complaint, you may have to file additional pleadings.
Settle the claim or go to court. After it receives the complaint, the towing company may decide to settle. In that case, negotiate a settlement that compensates you for your damages. If the company will not settle, go to trial where you will prove to the judge or jury all of the elements of your claim.
- towing truck image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com