If you’ve ever owned a car that just keeps having one problem after another, then you know the frustration and stress a lemon adds to your life. For some, those defects led to life altering injuries after severe accidents.
When the right qualifications are met, you can hire a lemon law attorney to seek compensation from the manufacturer. How can you tell if your vehicle qualifies for a lemon claim or if you just need an accident attorney, though?
When You Have a Lemon
Lemon laws cover vehicles that are still covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. That includes any type of vehicle that’s new, used, or leased. From your purchase, you’re covered for 18 months or 18,000 miles, whichever happens to come first.
You also have to prove that the car suffers from a substantial defect. That simply means the issue lessens the vehicle’s value, poses a safety risk, or impairs your ability to use the car. Smaller defects covered under warranty require four attempts to fix them before the Lemon Law kicks in.
If the defect poses a risk of injury or death, you only need two attempts. The number of attempts is overridden when a vehicle has been in a shop for 30 days. Those don’t have to be consecutive, any number of tips for the same repair adding up to 30 days counts.
You’ll need shop receipts as well as a skilled attorney to help you make and fight your lemon claim. Luckily, Lemon Law requires the manufacturer to pay reasonable attorney fees in addition to repairing, replacing, or refunding your vehicle.
When It’s Just an Accident
There’s a large difference between the area of law a lemon attorney and an accident attorney cover. If you suffered from an accident but your vehicle doesn’t meet the criteria above, then you’ll need to hire a Bay Area lawyer that handles car accidents instead.
You may be able to file a product liability claim for things like faulty airbags or rollovers if your vehicle is well outside the Lemon Law timeframe. For other types of claims, your attorney can instruct you on which options work best to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Key Tips to Remember
It can be difficult to know exactly which type of attorney you’ll need right after an accident. However, there are some tips you can follow to help your claim either way. First, take advantage of free consultations to identify what type of case you’re dealing with.
Second, never give your vehicle to the manufacturer. When defects are at fault, your car is a vital piece of evidence. The manufacturer will disassemble the car to find the issue, damaging evidence, or worse. Some have been caught attempting repairs to dodge a claim.
Finally, make sure you save receipts from repairs and maintenance over the months or years you own your car. These are crucial in making a lemon or product liability claim, proving that your use of the car was not the issue.