Buying a new automobile is usually a big decision for most people, and it involves a lot of time, research and most of all, money. If you are going to be paying for something for five years or more, you will generally take your time, do your research, and make sure that you are spending your money wisely on a vehicle that will last for years. Unfortunately, some new cars, like all manufactured products, do not perform as they should and are defective in some way. For reasons lost to antiquity, defective cars are known as "lemons."
California became the first state to enact legislation that provided recourse to purchasers of defective vehicles in 1982; since then, every state has enacted similar legislation. Consumers all over the country may now seek either a replacement vehicle or a refund should they find themselves the owner of a defective automobile.
Even though legislation exists to protect you if you should find yourself the owner of a lemon, most people are not familiar with their state's lemon law. Is it necessary to file a lawsuit? Do you need a lawyer? Can you go through the process yourself?
While lemon laws vary from state to state, you can generally file a lemon law claim yourself. The process usually involves writing letters to the manufacturer that state your problem and filing a claim with your state's Attorney General's office. You must also submit your vehicle for repair of the problem; each state requires that the manufacturer have a "reasonable"¯ opportunity to repair your vehicle. The next step is probably arbitration, in which you and the manufacturer present your respective arguments to an arbitration panel that will rule in favor of either you ore the manufacturer. In many states, arbitration is mandatory; in others, you may opt out.
While you may represent yourself during the arbitration process, you may feel more comfortable hiring an attorney. There are many attorneys who specialize in lemon law cases, and they may be able to expedite the process. The presence of an attorney may also make you feel more comfortable if you have little or no experience with this sort of procedure. If the of the arbitration panel does not rule in your favor, or if your state allows you to opt out of arbitration by choice, you may elect to sue the manufacturer yourself. This is often a last resort, as arbitration is often a simpler and faster alternative to lawsuits involving auto Lemon Law claims. Should you decide to sue, an attorney will almost certainly be necessary. Many states will allow you to collect attorney fees in a lemon law-related lawsuit.
Should you find yourself the owner of a defective automobile, you can certainly file a lemon law claim yourself, but many people will find that the process goes more smoothly with the aid of an attorney who is experienced in lemon law cases. If you think your car is a lemon and you might need to file a claim under your state's Lemon Law, you should first check with your state's Website, or contact your state's Attorney General's office.
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Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing. Retro Marketing, established in 1978, is a firm devoted to informational Websites.