Is Your Vehicle A Lemon? Learn More About Applying Lemon Laws To Recover Benefits
What Is a Lemon Law?
Lemon laws deal with consumer protections, particularly applicable to automobile purchases. For a lemon law to apply, the automobile in question must suffer from some sort of defect outside of the purchaser’s control, such as a manufacturer issue. Lemon laws apply if a certain number of reasonable repairs have been made to the vehicle in question to no avail.
When Do Lemon Laws Apply?
Lemon laws only apply when the vehicle in question is under warranty. This does not mean that it has to be a new car warranty. There are often dealership warranties attached to certified used cars. In accordance with the federal lemon law requirements, conditions must meet the following criteria:
- The manufacturer has attempted to fix the issue with the vehicle on several occasions. The number of conditions that merit a lemon law application can vary based on the court’s opinion.
- There have been attempts made to address the issue(s) in question within the first two years of owning and operating the vehicle.
- The car has been out of service for at least 30 days. Note that the days do not have to be consecutive.
How Do You Ensure the Application of Lemon Laws?
Lemon law statutes vary by state. You should research your particular state’s lemon law requirements to ensure that you remain within the legal confines of any claim you wish to forward. There are some common practices that you can take that better position you in citing lemon law:
- You should only take the vehicle in question to the corresponding dealership for repairs. By taking it to the dealership, you establish a credible paper trail showing that the responsible party attempted to address the issue at hand. If you take the vehicle to a mom-and-pop mechanic, the manufacturer cannot be held liable for any attempts made to fix the problem.
- Be sure to keep accurate and detailed records of any repairs made. If your case goes to trial, having accurate records detail the manufacturer’s opportunities to fix the mechanical issues. This also helps build a timeline of how long you could not use your vehicle.
Benefits of Hiring a Lemon Law Attorney
You should hire a specialized lemon law lawyer so that you have the peace of mind of knowing that your case is in the right hands. Some law firms dedicate their time to handling lemon law claims as opposed to trying them as part of their standard legal purview. Hiring an attorney allows consumers to build and present a stronger case to the court.
Because there is little doubt that the manufacturer in question will likely have legal counsel, you should do the same. Bringing an experienced legal professional into the fold only bolsters your chances of receiving entitled benefits. Whether the outcome of your case results in a replacement vehicle or compensation, a competent attorney stands a better chance of delivering results.
What Are Consumers Entitled?
If your vehicle falls under the applicable lemon laws, then you are legally entitled to either a replacement vehicle or a total refund. This refund includes your down payment, any monthly payments incurred, registration, applicable taxes, any rental vehicle or tow expenses incurred directly related to the vehicle in question, and reasonable attorney costs. In most cases, manufacturers may deduct a fee proportionate to the miles the owner puts on the vehicle up until the point at which the automobile becomes unusable.
Do Lemon Laws Apply to Used Vehicles?
Lemon laws can apply to used vehicles. However, this is for written warranties distributed along with the vehicle upon its purchase. Oftentimes, a used car dealership sells vehicles with some portion of the manufacturer’s warranty still active. This incentivizes the purchase and (allegedly) puts the buyer’s mind at ease.
When Should You Hire a Lemon Law Attorney?
Consumers should consider hiring a dedicated lemon law advocate when their vehicle remains inoperable for at least 30 days and their manufacturer refuses to make repairs. Have you attempted to have your vehicle repaired at the dealership? If you can’t resolve the issue, hen it may be time to bring in a legal professional.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Attorney?
Lemon law attorneys should not charge clients any fees until the case wraps up. This means they work on a contingency fee basis. This translates to attorneys not charging you unless the court rules the case in your favor. Even under this circumstance the client should not end up paying anything out of pocket. This is because the court’s ruling includes compensation for attorney fees.
How Does the Lemon Law Litigation Process Work?
Consumers can expect to go through a series of motions by bringing in an experienced attorney. However, introducing an attorney into the situation is the best way for consumers to receive a fair outcome when dealing with a lemon law situation. With most lemon law attorneys, you can expect the following:
- Free Case Evaluation – Attorneys should review your case for free. They will determine its merit and whether you have a justifiable claim.
- Filing Your Claim – Your legal representative should handle filing a claim with the appropriate manufacturer after determining the facts of the case.
- Further Action – Your vehicle’s manufacturer may refuse to comply with the claim under federal and state statutes. Then your attorney files suit to seek entitled compensation on your behalf.
- Pursuing Settlement – If you achieve a settlement before trial, the manufacturer should cover all incurred costs and fees. This will often include attorney fees.
- Contingency Fee Basis – At the end of the ordeal, clients should not have to pay for attorney’s fees. Even if you ultimately lose your case, a reputable law firm should not charge clients any fees. If you win your case, the manufacturer takes care of the attorney’s fees.
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