Let's face it. We live in a "do-it-yourself" culture. You can install our own hardwood flooring, design your own website, and - in some states - download a form and fill in the blanks to write your own last will and testament. When it comes to Lemon Law, each state is different, but some require you to go through a state arbitration process or a manufacturer's arbitration process - and assure you that you can do it yourself.
In truth, the do-it-yourself approach to Lemon Law almost never works in your favor. There are more than a dozen good reasons to hire a Lemon Law attorney to help you with your case, but here are the top five:
Experience. Thankfully, most people go through life and never have to deal with a lemon car. If you have a defective vehicle, it's a safe bet that this is the first time you've had to deal with the Lemon Law process. A Lemon Law lawyer deals with Lemon Law claims everyday, and understands the broader picture as well as the nuances of the law that can trip up first-timers. It's a bit like owning a company and preparing your own tax returns. You can do it, but a professional tax accountant is much more likely to prepare a return that is error-free and that minimizes your tax liability.
Opposition. Vehicle manufacturers have teams of lawyers who do nothing but fight Lemon Law claims. They know all of the legal loopholes, and have an arsenal of tactics and strategies to keep you from getting the compensation you deserve. Even when you're at your best, it's difficult to win a battle with corporate lawyers. With a Lemon Law layer, you have the power of a knowledgeable advocate at your side - one who knows the tricks of the trade, and the experience to turn the tide in your favor.
Intention. Car manufacturers often view consumers with lemons as nuisances that distract them from their main business - selling more cars. When you hire a Lemon Law attorney, you are signaling a powerful intention - that you're serious about getting the compensation you deserve. Manufacturers know that a Lemon Law lawyer will bring the full force of the law to bear and won't back down until his or her client gets a fair settlement. In other words, a lawyer will make the manufacturer sit up and pay attention.
Options. Each state has a different Lemon Law, and each state defines a lemon differently. Usually, a vehicle has to meet a laundry list of criteria in order to be considered a lemon. If your defective vehicle doesn't meet these stringent standards, it's likely that you can't use the Lemon Law to get compensation. An experienced Lemon Law attorney, however, has been down this road before, and can often negotiate a settlement with a manufacturer even when the vehicle isn't strictly considered a lemon. Alternately, a Lemon Law lawyer knows about other laws that might apply to your case, and can use those laws to get you the compensation you deserve.
It's Free. Most state Lemon Laws have a provision that says, if your case is successful, the vehicle manufacturer has to pay all of your attorney fees. For that reason, most Lemon Law lawyers will provide you with a no cost, no obligation case evaluation. If they think your case has merit, they will represent you for free, knowing that the chances of a buyback or settlement are good and that their fees will be paid by the car manufacturer. In other words, you have nothing to lose by consulting a Lemon Law attorney before you try to "do it yourself."