Owning a defective vehicle is a challenge and not something anyone welcomes. However, if the vehicle fits the criteria in Texas to be considered a lemon, then you can pursue compensation. That’s the good news.
The next factor in pursuing compensation is whether or not you should work with a lemon law attorney. Because we all know lemon law attorneys cost money. In Texas, rather than going through the state court system, lemon law complaints are handled by a special division of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and is handled via a special process.
Why work with a lemon law attorney?
There are many reasons why working with a lemon law attorney can improve your chances to win your lemon law case. The first is experience. Lemon law attorneys have gone through this process before, and they may have interacted with the individuals who handle your case, depending on previous experience.
They have also faced off with manufacturers and dealers previously and are prepared for some of their tactics to get out of the situation with minimal financial blowback. Since they know, they can help you avoid some of the common pitfalls in this process.
For more information on arbitration and other frequently asked lemon law attorney questions, click here.
So, you know you need an attorney. However, you may be concerned about paying for one.
That makes sense. Here you are, inconvenienced by an unreliable vehicle and all of the expenses related to living your daily life while paying for a vehicle that isn’t taking you where you need to go.
Options for paying for a lemon law attorney
In Texas, there is a process that can be integrated into the case called a fee shifting provision. This requires the manufacturer to take responsibility for paying the attorney fees. Therefore, if that is integrated into your legal process, then you won’t have to worry about this payment, Instead, it falls at the feet of the manufacturer who has already inconvenienced you by selling you a lemon.
However, even if this is not included in the legal process for a lemon law complaint, there is another option. That involves the attorney negotiating on your behalf. The negotiation is to require the attorney fees be included in the settlement. So, by the time you receive your part of the settlement, the attorney is already paid. This helps avoid the stress and confusion that handling the attorney’s fees on your own could cause.
This is where lemon law attorneys are your advantage. They have previous experience with these negotiations, approaches that are more likely to work than others, and guidance on how to navigate the entire process.
Lemon laws are confusing. Read our guide to the lemon law process.
Your best bet when it comes to getting through a lemon law complaint is finding the right lemon law attorney at the start and relying on them and their staff to guide you through the process. From start to finish, they can have tips and guidance that you would have no idea you would even need, as someone new to the process.
The lemon law process typically requires an attempt at mediation, followed by a hearing in front of an examiner. In many cases, the manufacturer will try to bully you into taking a settlement or offering a concession to avoid the possibility of repurchasing the vehicle or replacing it with a more reliable one.
It is important to understand your options and the likelihood of the case to fall in your favor. Therefore, working with a lemon law attorney from the start can help you deal with these situations.
The hearing is held in front of an examiner who hears both sides. This is a better chance to share your story, the various attempts to repair your lemon law vehicle and the need for a resolution. It also means the manufacturer will be tasked with proving why this situation is not their responsibility. A lemon law attorney can help make sure the process is fair and all relevant information is included in the hearing. You will be set and far more likely to see success with the help of a lemon law attorney.
A lemon vehicle in Texas has certain criteria it has to meet. What are those criteria?
First of all, the vehicle must be purchased within the state. Now, that said, if you happen to be an active member of the military, this requirement is waived.
Next, the vehicle must be a car, truck, SUV, minivan, electric vehicle, RV or TRV (towable recreational vehicle). It can also be a motorcycle. Farm equipment and trailers are not covered under this law.
Now, if your vehicle fits the above criteria, how many repair attempts have been made with no success?
If you said four or more, then you are checking off another requirement on the Texas lemon checklist.
Think you have a lemon, click here to fill out a 30 second form
It is also important here to note that defect has to be decrease the value of the vehicle significantly AND that it puts the driver’s life and safety at risk if the vehicle is driven.
How often do you have to leave the vehicle sitting idle due to this defect? If the days total 30 or more in the first 24,000 miles driven or 24 months of ownership, then you fit another criteria for a lemon. Those days do not have to be consecutive, but keep in mind that any day where a loaner vehicle was provided does not count toward this total.
As noted above, the manufacturer has to be made aware of these issues as they are occurring or within six months after the 24,000 mile or 24-month mark are reached.
It is also important to keep documentation of the repair visits. Even if no money changed hands during that particular visit, it counts if the mechanic attempts to find the cause of the issue and resolve it.
It is also important to keep this documentation because you may be compensated for these various repair attempts if they were all unsuccessful.
The manufacturer, obviously, might prefer not to have to cover these expenses. This is why it is key to work with a lemon law attorney who knows the ins and outs of the lemon law complaint process. You can be confident they will help you get to the bottom of the case and get back as much compensation as you are entitled to after having a lemon vehicle for months.
The best news is, following the hearing, you may have the lemon vehicle repurchased or replaced by the manufacturer with one of comparable value. The third option is that the lemon is repaired in a satisfactory manner and is paid for by the manufacturer. Regardless of the option, it will be reassuring to see the matter handled and the hit to the bank account occur for the manufacturer rather than for you.