We rented a car from Orlando airport for eight days. When we were driving from Orlando to a beach island three police cars ambushed us and four police officers got out of the cars and pointed their guns at us. One of the officers told me to step out of the car, which I did. Then he handcuffed me. I kept asking him as to what was the reason but he would not tell me. He then read me my Miranda rights and then he told me that the reason for arresting me was because the car that I was driving was reported stolen in January 2016 by the rental car company. I told him that I rented the car from Orlando airport a few days ago and also showed him the rental papers. After that the cops became very friendly and acknowledged that they must have been some mix up. My wife and two kids were in the car with me, as also my father in law who is 72 years old. My kids were scared and so was my wife setting me in handcuffs. My father in law also was shocked. I am glad that nothing bad happened but this could ended up in an ugly manner. I think the rental car company should be held responsible for their negligence. Do you think that I have a valid case to hold them responsible for this negligence?
Although this had to a traumatic experience for you, the tough part is going to be showing what "damages" you suffered. "Damages" in a legal context can probably best be described as some type of loss that you can assign a monetary value to. Although everyone was scared and I imagine you were suffered some embarrassment, you would then have to show that somehow this manifested into some type of physical condition. There may be others who may disagree but my advice is to ask for a free rental and chalk this up to having a good story to tell.
Unbelievable! Sorry to hear you went through all that.
Yes, I would jump on it right away.
Whatever you do, do NOT try to handle this directly with the rental company or give them any written or recorded statement
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You should contact an attorney to discuss your rights - there are several potential claims here - though the hard part may be the "damages" aspect.
It depends. The legal theory would be false imprisonment, but proving general damages might be difficult. Had you been incarcerated, your damages would have been solidified. Here, you have naught but a nuisance claim. Your family has nothing, though, even though they saw the event, and the police are immune since there was arguable probable cause to detain you.
My answers are not legal advice, and I am not your attorney unless I agree to accept your case and you sign a contract. Avvo is only a general question forum, so you should seek a consultation about your specific legal needs.
It sounds like you have a claim. The real issue is the damages you suffered. In this case, you and your family were inconvenienced and scared, however, the police only kept you until they could determine whether the car was , in fact, stolen. Because the police properly did their job, and immediately released you once they determined that you had done nothing wrong, and you were not arrested and jailed for any period of time, your damages will probably be considered slight by an insurance company. Hire a lawyer and he/she should be able to secure a nuisance value settlement on your behalf.
Damages will be the difficult area in this matter. An attorney may be able to get them to settle for a something but don't go in expecting the world to fall at your feet. Do not attempt to take this on yourself.
Assuming it can be shown that the rental care agency was the negligent party most likely. This need to be clarified as if the law enforcement agency was the at fault party they likely have immunity.
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I would say no. First you don't know who fouled up the stolen car report the cops or the rental company. Considering the car was back in service I"d say the cops didn't clear it. Stolen cars are reported to the local police and then the report goes out nation wide. If a recovery is made the police then take the report down or should and notice the owner of the recovery. I know this being an insurance adjuster that handles hundreds of stolen car claims. So who to sue? And most importantly for what? Your damages are what? Scared? Upset? Put a dollar amount on that. From the news I see far worse happening to innocent people at the hands of the police and nothing happens. Maybe the story gets on the news. I'd say you've lead a sheltered life if this is the first time you've been up close and personal to the police.
I suggest you write to the company and demand that they waive your rental fees for the eight days or, alternatively, you could place the rental in dispute through your credit card Company. It is doubtful that a lawsuit would be worth pursuing because of the apparent lack of significant damages, including medical bills, lost earnings etc.
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It does not appear on these facts that you have a basis for negligence. However I agree with my colleagues that you certainly have reason to request some sort of compensation for having I to go through this ordeal. You skipping contact a contract attorney to review the contract and possibly negotiate s resolution with the rental company. Best of luck!
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