The Dos and Don'ts of Pursuing a Lemon Law Claim

The Dos and Don’ts of Pursuing a Lemon Law Claim

The specifics of lemon law vary by state. Depending on the state, your case may require taking a vehicle to arbitration. The manufacturer often requires this step before going to court.

To succeed in your claim, it is crucial to keep detailed documentation. This includes repair orders, notes of conversations with the dealer or manufacturer, rental car receipts, and tow truck receipts.


Don’t File Your Claim on Your Own

A do-it-yourself approach may work great for fixing a leaky pipe or painting your living room, but it is not recommended when filing a lemon law claim. A NJ lemon law attorney has the expertise necessary to guide you through each step of the process. These professionals will review your documentation and confirm that the problem is covered under state and federal warranty laws. They will also ensure that the manufacturer has had sufficient opportunities to resolve your issue.

If your lemon law claim is successful, the attorney will assist you in negotiating for the appropriate remedy. The manufacturer will be more willing to settle when an experienced lawyer is in your corner. Attorneys will also help you avoid accepting low offers of repair or compensation.

Manufacturers often try to drag out the process of resolving lemon law claims to make the vehicle owners nervous or desperate. This will cause the owner to accept a low-ball offer of repair or compensation. Attorneys are familiar with the tactics used by manufacturers and will fight for the higher recoveries to which they are entitled under the law.

When making a lemon law claim, keeping detailed records of all conversations and correspondence with your dealership, service department, and manufacturer is essential. Documentation includes sales receipts, repair orders, internal memos, phone records, and other relevant information. In addition to obtaining this documentation, lemon lawyers can use depositions, interrogatories, and requests for documents to obtain evidence from witnesses or parties in your case.

Don’t Submit Your Claim to the Manufacturer’s Informal Dispute Resolution Program or Better Business Bureau

Many vehicle owners feel they don’t need a lemon law attorney, as the process seems unnecessary, aggressive, or expensive. However, lemon law is highly specialized, with precise deadlines and procedures that can trip up car owners and inexperienced attorneys. Furthermore, most lemon law lawyers will review your case for free, and if they believe you have a valid claim, they will typically take it on contingency (meaning they get paid only if they win).

If you decide to go it alone and file a lemon law claim, ensure that an experienced attorney represents you. A common mistake new vehicle buyers make is submitting their lemon claims to the manufacturer’s informal dispute resolution programs or Better Business Bureau without being represented by an attorney. These programs are not designed to handle lemon law cases and can harm your case.

Another common mistake is failing to keep complete and accurate records of the problem with your vehicle. For example, you should always keep detailed repair orders that include the date you took your car in for service, what was done to fix it, and the result. Additionally, it would help if you kept all repair invoices in a safe place so that they are easily accessible in the event of a lemon law claim.

Don’t Make Changes to Your Vehicle or Ownership

Changing any part of your vehicle can invalidate your warranty and negate your ability to bring a lemon law claim. This is especially important if the problem is related to safety. For example, changing a seat belt could make your car unsafe.

If you need to change something, ensure the dealer and manufacturer understand it is because of a defective component related to your lemon law case. Then, get a repair invoice for the work you have done and keep it in a safe place. The repair invoice will contain pertinent information for a lemon law settlement like date, mileage in and out, problem or defect, number of attempts to fix the defect, days the car was in the shop, and what was done to correct the problem.

If you are still trying to figure out what to do, consider hiring an attorney experienced in lemon law. A lawyer will ensure that your claims are handled correctly and promptly. In addition, they can help you recover the maximum amount possible from the manufacturer. If you cannot agree with the manufacturer, an attorney can also file a lawsuit in court. This can make the manufacturer and dealer more responsive. Ultimately, getting the expert assistance you need early on can make all the difference in your lemon law settlement.

Don’t Talk to an Expert Before Making Changes

In the case of a lemon vehicle, it’s best to avoid any changes to your ownership or use before consulting an expert. These changes could unintentionally affect your ability to pursue a claim or complicate what would otherwise be a simple matter. For example, suppose you change your vehicle’s use from personal to business or make any other modification that could violate the manufacturer’s express warranty. In that case, you may lose your right to file a lemon law lawsuit and get the compensation you deserve.

A lemon attorney can help you gather evidence and present it to an arbitration panel. They understand the laws of your state and know how a jury or arbitrator will view your case. For instance, many states have a presumption that a vehicle is a lemon if it has been repaired for a significant problem that threatens safety or value in the first 18 months or 18,000 miles.

Most states also have a statute that allows you to hire an attorney on a contingency basis. This means you won’t have to pay any legal fees upfront unless your claim succeeds. This benefit makes it easy and affordable to seek the compensation you deserve from the manufacturer of your lemon vehicle. Contact a lemon law firm today to learn if you can use this protection.

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