Hiring a Lemon Law Attorney
Let’s say you’ve made the decision to seek out a lemon law attorney. This single decision is the most important one you could make for the success of your lemon law claim. Once discovering your new vehicle is a lemon, your best choice is finding a qualified lemon law lawyer who can help you determine your best next move, find out which state laws apply to you, and how best to use them in conjunction with the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act to pursue your claim. The attorneys of Allen Stewart P.C. can use their extensive lemon law knowledge and decades of experience to guide your claim through the legal system and get you back on the road.
Attorney Allen Stewart said a consumer with a lawyer representing them has an advocate throughout the lemon law claims process: someone whose job is looking out for the consumer’s best interest, who knows how the law and its processes work and affect the consumer, and how to use those laws and processes to serve the consumer best.
“A consumer with a lawyer has someone who knows when they’re being bamboozled,” Stewart said. “Someone who knows when what that company just said isn’t the law, or the truth, or equitable. The consumer with the lawyer has an advocate that has seen many other people in like circumstances and knows what the appropriate standard of care and compensation should be.”
A consumer doesn’t so much as “hire” a lemon law attorney as they find one willing to represent them. The arrangement is a mutual one: the attorney reviews the facts of your potential claim and decide whether they believe they can ensure you a favorable outcome. A qualified lemon law lawyer will know whether they can help you with your claim, or who they could refer you to if they cannot.
While finding a lemon law attorney is the best single step you can take for your case, representing yourself in court is the worst. Stewart said the likelihood of a consumer successfully representing themselves in court is remote, at best.
“I have never seen the circumstance of a self-represented plaintiff show up in front of the judge and at the end of the proceeding the judge not tell them ‘sir or ma’am, the best thing for your case is you getting a lawyer,’” he said. “Even the simplest things in the law can be complicated because if you miss the timeline, you could lose it all,” Stewart said. “If you file the wrong paperwork, it could set you back time and money, and you might lose the case.”
Andrew Ross, lemon law attorney with Allen Stewart P.C., said lawyers with experience in the field knows exactly how automotive manufacturers operate, especially when it comes to taking responsibility for defective vehicles—or avoiding doing so. They also know the detailed and meticulous process of filing and managing a lemon law claim, and the rules and deadlines involved.
“If you’re missing some of those things, or if you don’t follow certain rules, your claim can be completely tossed out,” Ross said. “You run the risk of having your case thrown out or getting a judgement that prevents you from trying to present your case again.”
Before seeking out a lemon law attorney, you should research your options thoroughly. Your lawyer will work closely with you throughout the lemon law claims process, often contacting you asking for additional paperwork if needed or keeping you updated on your claim’s latest development. You should conduct extensive research on potential law firms, both online and speaking to them live. Google Reviews, Martindale and Avvo are good websites for finding reviews of law firms and individual attorneys.
A law firm’s website is a good place to learn about that firm’s history and how they conduct themselves. Any law firm good at what they do will likely have an entire page dedicated to their past victories, along with testimonials from satisfied clients. State and federal laws prevent lawyers from fabricating or paraphrasing reviews from clients, so you know any review they post is legit.
The firm will also list all of the attorneys that work there, if in fact more than one works there. They will often write about their legal and educational background, giving you a better idea of their areas of expertise and experience. They will also list the areas in which they are licensed to practice. A lemon law attorney will let you know far in advance if they can’t take your case off geography alone, however.
One important facet to remember is outright avoiding any lemon law firm that asks for payment up front. The Magnuson Moss Warranty Act of 1975 requires manufacturers pay a consumer’s attorney’s fees when the consumer prevails against them in court. This allows lemon law attorneys to pursue lemon law claims without requiring out of pocket expenses from their clients. Thusly, any law firm demanding payment up front for lemon law services may not be entirely on the level.
Once you contact a lemon law attorney, they or a paralegal working at their firm will ask you several questions about your vehicle. They’ll want to know the vehicle’s year, make and model, where you bought and when. They’ll ask you about what state you’re calling from as well, as each state has its own separate lemon law that could apply to your particular case. They’ll ask you about the problems you’re having with the vehicle and how many times you’ve tried to get it repaired; most law firms require a certain number of unsuccessful repair attempts (or total days in the shop for repairs) before they will agree to help pursue your claim.
Once they’ve determined your vehicle was still under warranty when the defects occurred and you allowed the manufacturer the appropriate number of repair attempts, they may agree to represent you.
They will ask for records including copies of all purchase documentation as well as official records of any and all repair attempts on your vehicle. This documentation establishes the base upon which your claim rests. Competent lemon law attorneys won’t begin the claims process until they’ve had time to review these documents for themselves. The attorney will send you a contract and once they receive your signature, they will begin the claims process.
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 is the primary tool with which the lemon law attorneys of Allen Stewart P.C. use to pursue claims. The federal law cuts across state lines and provides equal protections to consumers across America. The Act requires companies provide warranty information up front in easily understood language, letting consumers make decisions and shop around based on warranty coverage.
The Act’s provision mandating companies paying a consumer’s legal fees if they succeed in court means attorneys can start pursuing the claim without requiring any payment up front. This means there’s no cost whatsoever for the consumer to pursue a lemon law claim, putting them on more equal footing with the vehicle manufacturer.
The lemon law attorneys of Allen Stewart P.C. aren’t afraid to take automotive manufacturers to court. They have combined decades of experience taking on companies in defense of consumers just like you. They will work tirelessly to get you the justice to which you are entitled and the compensation you deserve.