I am an individual with a permanent disability and, as such, have been issued a blue parking placard to display when parking at a meter or in a handicap space.
Last week, 7/19/2012, I parked my vehicle at a meter on a public road because there were no handicap spaces available or, for that matter, any spaces designated for disabled parking.
Upon parking and exiting my vehicle, I saw what appeared to be a sign stating that there was no overnight parking without a permit which is, from my understanding, one of the exceptions covered by displaying the placard.
I parked my vehicle at approximately 3:00, took care of my business and at roughly 4:10 returned to my vehicle for the drive home. Much to my dismay, my car gone. My first thought was that the vehicle had been stolen but recalled the security system and dismissed that idea.
Unfortunately, I am quite limited as to the distance I can walk and, even then, require the use of a cane to maintain balance and assist me in getting from point A to point B and back. This being the case, I hadn't been able to see a sign stating that there was no parking from 4pm until 7pm. When I looked at my watch, the time was now 4:25 and my car had apparently been taken within the 15 minute period between the time meter / sign expiration time of 4:00pm and the time I exited the business.
Note: Although this was a public street in a business district of Los Angeles, CA, the city / state had not designated any spaces for handicap parking use. In addition, the meter was located in a "clear" (no color) area of the sidewalk and was did not have a clear view of signage for which I was towed.
After spending nearly 2 hours on the phone (I was transferred more numerous times), I was told that my vehicle had been towed to a city impound location with which I was unfamiliar. However, when I called the number given to me by the police operator, I learned (from an answering machine) that the facility was closed for the day and wouldn't re-open until 8am the following day.
I was approximately 10 miles away from my home, had less than $5 in cash and didn't know anything about using public transportation. It was getting dark out, the temperature had dropped and I was completely stranded. I finally made it home, thanks to a friend, almost 5 hours later.
In conclusion; the following day, I was able to find a ride to the impound location to pick up my vehicle.
Upon my arrival, I had to provide the necessary proof of ownership, etc. after which time I was given a piece of paper with charges in the amount of $307.60 ($114.50 towing, storage 71.00 (for 2 days even though it had been less than 24 hours), $7.10 LA parking tax and $115.00 for City of LA vehicle release fee). In addition I received a City of Los Angeles Parking Citation (another $88.00) for a total of $395.60 in fees.
When reading the parking citation, I was able to determine that the ticket had been issued at 16:05 (4:05pm) for a "no stopping" violation. The paperwork at the impound stated that I had been towed for "Posted Tow Away.
I was in at a business within 100' from my vehicle and was towed within a 10-15 minute time frame from when I left the store and noticed my car missing.
Note: I have NEVER had a traffic or parking ticket.
I apologize for being verbose but here's my question.
What can I do to (a) file a complaint regarding the city's failure to designate ANY handicap spaces, (b) obtain a refund of the $307.60 (not including the ticket) for the fees already paid, (c) have the actual parking citation dismissed and (d) receive compensation for time as well as pain and suffering (quite literally) that I have unnecessarily had to endure?
I await your response and look forward to any insight you have to offer.
Thank you very much,