Buying a new car should be one of the most exciting endeavors, but the moment can be ruined when you realize that you’ve brought home a lemon. Fortunately, California’s lemon law is quite aggressive, and it looks out for the best interests of consumers by allowing them to recover monetary “actual” damages in the event the consumer obtains a vehicle buyback from the car manufacturer. The law offers protections for buyers of new and in some cases used cars.
While all of this sounds great, the question you might have is how much it will cost you to pay for a lemon law attorney.
A consumer has in essence two options when it comes to handling a potential lemon law case: a consumer can represent him/herself, or hire an experienced attorney. While representing oneself may sound like a money-saver, it is actually more likely that this decision may cost the consumer more money.
With a good lemon law lawyer, you’re more likely to recover the amount that you deserve. Lemon law attorneys are experts in this area of law, and their mission is to defend victims who may have been defrauded.
You may be concerned that you won’t’ be able to afford a lawyer. Is the award amount you may recover worth the cost of all the legal fees? Let’s answer this question.
California’s lemon law and other related statutes forces a car manufacturer to pay the prevailing party his/her legal fees, including attorney fees and costs, according to California’s Lemon Law Statute, Civil Code 1794(d). This is in addition to the state’s vehicle “buy-back” provision and other financial provisions that fall under the lemon law and other related statutes.
California’s lemon law statute allows a consumer to recuperate legal costs and expenses completely. For this reason, lemon law attorneys are more than willing to work with you on your case. It’s a win-win situation for both attorney and client.
Also, many lemon law attorneys are happy to have an initial free meeting or consultation with you to discuss and evaluate your potential case.
How Can You Be Sure You’re Working with the Right Attorney?
Just because California’s lemon law makes carmakers responsible for legal fees does not necessarily mean that all lemon law lawyers are the same.
At your initial meeting, your prospective lawyer should be gathering facts about your case. Under no circumstances should he or she be making promises regarding award amounts or whether your vehicle buyback is “guaranteed.” Ethically, no attorney can guarantee an outcome of a particular case.
A competent and ethical attorney’s priority is to complete a thorough case evaluation and work hard for you to try to get you the highest award possible or a complete vehicle “buy back,” if possible. Never should your lawyer be making promises about a specific monetary award or tell you that it is guaranteed your vehicle would be bought back by the manufacturer. Again, no attorney can guarantee an outcome of a case. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Secondly, your prospective attorney should not be talking about how much they will be taking out of your settlement for actual damages. Your settlement for actual damages should be yours to keep. As it is clear by Civil Code 1794 (d), lawyers get paid through California’s lemon law statute.
Working with a lemon law attorney is not only advisable but it is also within anyone’s reach. But be sure to follow our recommendations so that you end up working with the right attorney for your case.
Our Mission Viejo law offices provide free consultations. If we take your case, you are not responsible for paying us any fees under California’s Song Beverly Consumer Warranty Act.