Why Should I Hire an Attorney for My Lemon Law Claim?
It’s common for people to refer to a car that frequently breaks down as a “lemon,” but the legal definition of a “lemon” car is much more narrowly focused. In fact, according to a report put out by the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG), fewer than one-half of one percent of vehicles end up being part of a lemon law claim. Still, if you find yourself in the unlucky position of having purchased a defective vehicle, it’s in your best interest to obtain legal counsel for a lemon law claim to ensure you get the compensation you’re due.
If you’d like to speak with a lemon law attorney in the Sunnyvale, California area or anywhere in the state, call us at Law Offices of Kevin Faulk to schedule a consultation.
Understanding Lemon Law Claims
In addition to federal lemon law regulations, each state also implements its own lemon laws. California was one of the first states in the nation to pass its initial lemon law back in 1982 to protect consumers against unfair business practices. That law soon became the standard that other states used when drafting and passing their own lemon law legislation. Under California law, in order for a car to qualify as a lemon, it must meet the following criteria:
The car must be covered under the original manufacturer’s warranty or certified pre-owned warranty
The defect or issue occurred during the warranty period
The defects were not caused by abuse or neglect
You’ve followed any applicable guidelines laid out in the warranty
If the above criteria have been met, you may be able to file a lemon law claim with the car manufacturer--but you first must complete certain steps:
The dealer must be allowed a “reasonable” number of attempts to fix the problem. This means as few as two attempts, but generally more attempts make a stronger case. Or,
The defective vehicle has been in the shop for more than 30 days without resolution. Keep in mind that the 30 days do not have to be consecutive.
As a consumer, you have the right to seek compensation either in the form of a replacement vehicle or reimbursement, whichever you choose. You can also seek reimbursement for incidental expenses like rental cars or time missed from work.
The Importance of Legal Representation
It’s common to wonder, “Do I need a lemon law attorney?” While there’s nothing in the law that requires you to work with a lawyer, there are several reasons why seeking skilled legal counsel is in your best interest.
Maximize potential compensation and benefits: When you enter arbitration to decide on a settlement amount, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting the maximum compensation that takes into account incidental expenses and the inconvenience caused by the defects.
Navigate the legal system: Anytime you pursue a lawsuit, you’ll have to jump through several legal hoops which require detailed knowledge of the law and the court system.
Handle negotiations: Car manufacturers have teams of lawyers working for them during negotiations. You deserve to have someone on your side to advocate for your needs.
Gather evidence and build a case: To have a successful lemon law claim, you’ll need to provide thorough documentation and evidence that clearly shows the defect and your attempts to fix it.
Protect your rights and interests: As a consumer, you’re not expected to have an exhaustive understanding of the process or how lemon law cases are evaluated. This is why you need a skilled lawyer working in your corner.
Avoid mistakes: Mistakes made during the litigation process have the potential to lose you thousands of dollars or even lose your case completely. When you work with an experienced attorney, you’ll greatly minimize the chances of mistakes and be prepared to handle any setback or unexpected turn.
Counter defenses from manufacturers: When pursuing a lawsuit against a large business or corporation, you not only need a solid understanding of the laws, but also of the type of claim. In regards to the lemon law, this means your lawyer should have sufficient knowledge about the car manufacturing business so they can offer an informed defense during arbitration.
Let Us Handle Your Claim
If you’re in the Sunnyvale, California area and believe you’ve purchased a “lemon” but aren’t sure how to pursue compensation under state law, reach out to our team. At Law Offices of Kevin Faulk, our attorney maintains a steadfast commitment to helping consumers seek the compensation and reimbursement they deserve when faced with a defective product. We’re ready to help you move forward.