Can You Sue a Rental Company if They Report Your Car Stolen?
Rental car companies provide a valuable service to countless individuals. Whether you are on vacation, waiting for a vehicle to be repaired, driving for a rideshare service, or running a special errand, you may need to rely on a rental car for transportation. Unfortunately, some rental companies have mistakenly reported their cars stolen, causing their customers to be accused of crimes they did not commit.
You may be able to sue a rental company if they report your car stolen and you are wrongfully arrested. For example, nearly 400 customers have filed cases against the rental company Hertz for improperly reporting stolen vehicles. The plaintiffs allege that they were subject to traumatic, unjustified arrests. Some of the victims were even held at gunpoint and sent to prison, where they suffered severe emotional trauma and physical injuries.
If you suffered a false arrest because a rental company mistakenly reported your car stolen, get help from our experienced Arlington personal injury attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm by calling (817) 476-1797.
Suing a Rental Company for False Reports of Stolen Vehicles
Unfortunately, some car rental companies have implemented flawed systems for reporting stolen vehicles. Many customers’ cars are mistakenly reported stolen, causing the them to be wrongfully arrested. Fortunately, the victims of these improper arrests may be able to obtain payment for the damages they suffered.
For example, a high number of lawsuits have been filed against the rental car company Hertz for knowingly and falsely reporting its customers to law enforcement. Hertz is accused of failing to investigate alleged thefts before reporting them to the authorities. The company was supposedly reporting stolen cars without any verification that they were actually stolen. Furthermore, the lawsuits assert that Hertz rents “stolen” vehicles to unsuspecting individuals and supplies false information in theft reports by secretly backdating due dates and deleting rental extensions. As a result of their false reporting, Hertz essentially had the police force act as strong arms for their private corporation. The police proceeded to wrongfully arrest hundreds of Hertz’s customers. These cases have been summarized by articles published by the Guardian, linked here, and ABC News, linked here.
Damages Caused by Wrongful Arrests of Rental Car Customers
False theft reports that lead to wrongful arrests can cause rental car customers to sustain significant damages. Theses harms may include physical injuries caused by their arrests, the humiliation of being restrained, damage to their reputations, among many other negative consequences. For example, the following are all examples of damages suffered by plaintiffs in the lawsuits filed against Hertz:
Emotional Trauma and Damaged Reputation
One of the plaintiffs filing a case against Hertz is Jenelle Reece-Williams. She rented a car from Hertz for two weeks in Las Vegas during September of 2018. In November, she was approached by police at a gas station in North Carolina and accused of stealing her rental car. As a result of Hertz’s inaccurate report against her, she was falsely arrested, placed in jail for two weeks, prosecuted for theft, almost lost her child to child services, and had her reputation tarnished. Therefore, Reece-Williams is seeking compensation for the harm caused by Hertz’s flawed reporting system.
Shontrell Higgs was also wrongfully arrested as a response to a mistaken theft report made by Hertz. As a result, she spent 37 days in jail and lost her job. Additionally, Higgs suffered a miscarriage in prison and was absent for her nursing school graduation, causing severe emotional distress.
Physical Injuries Suffered in Prison
Another plaintiff who experienced harmful consequences for their wrongful arrest is Mary Lindsay Flannery. She had rented a car from Hertz in 2020 and was subsequently pulled over by police officers who believed her vehicle was stolen. Flannery was unable to get answers from Hertz despite multiple attempts to receiver an explanation regarding the theft report filed against her. As a result of her arrest, Flannery’s daughter was left home alone without a parent. Furthermore, Flannery suffered 3 panic attacks, was physically assaulted by fellow inmates, and was bitten by bed bugs when she was in jail.
Similarly, one plaintiff named Kelly Grady was arrested in 2017 because Hertz falsely accused her of stealing a rental vehicle. As a result, she had to spend 12 days in jail where she was sexually assaulted and beaten. For Grady, the experience was obviously painful and humiliating.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Sue a Rental Car Company?
While you are not required to hire a lawyer to represent you in your case against a rental car company, legal support can be highly valuable. Our experienced Fort Worth personal injury attorneys can build your case and ensure that your rights are protected. There are multiple tasks that we can help you with throughout each step of the legal process.
For example, during a free assessment of your potential lawsuit, our team will evaluate the strength of your potential claim. We will ask questions regarding the circumstances of your case and determine whether the necessary elements have been established.
Furthermore, our team will gather and preserve evidence that is needed to win your lawsuit against a rental car company. There are several types of evidence that can be helpful. For example, witness statements, financial records and email communications may all be utilized. However, the parties in control of this evidence can be hesitant to cooperate with plaintiffs. Our legal team will fight to acquire any pertinent evidence that may be used to support your claim.
Our lawyers can also negotiate with defendants so that you may receive an adequate settlement offer before trial. However, if an adequate settlement offer is not presented, you will have to go to trial to recover the payment you deserve. At trial, our lawyers will present your case in a clear and convincing manner.
If You Need to Sue a Rental Company for Falsely Reporting Your Car as Stolen, Call Our Law Firm for Help
Seek assistance from our experienced Dallas personal injury attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm by dialing (817) 476-1797 today.