How do Lemon Law Lawyers get paid?
Purchasing a car is a thrilling experience and we very rarely think about the things that could potentially go wrong. However, when they do go wrong, they tend to do it in a big way and it doesn't take much to start feeling overwhelmed and get stuck without knowing the way forward.
Ending up with a defective car or a vehicle that doesn't function properly can be extremely frustrating, especially if manufacturers or dealerships aren't willing to readily fix the issue and work with you to find a solution. In these cases, the assistance of a California lemon law attorney is invaluable but you may be anxious about high law firm fees and wondering how you will be able to afford them.
Thankfully, if you have ended up with a lemon and you require the expert services of an experienced lemon law attorney, you needn't worry about their legal fees and you can take full advantage of their expertise without breaking the bank.
In this blog, we will explore how lemon law lawyers get compensated as part of your lemon law claim, and what this means for you.
What is the Lemon Law?
The lemon law is a state-specific regulation that offers protection to consumers who have purchased or leased a defective vehicle. If your car meets certain criteria and has been deemed a lemon, you may be entitled to certain remedies from the manufacturer, including a refund or replacement vehicle.
Lemon law can be evoked if the vehicle is still under the manufacturer's warranty or if you are in possession of a dealer's warranty. In these cases, under the lemon-law warranty, the dealer or manufacturer must repair any defect in the covered parts, free of charge. If the dealer is unable to fix your car after three or more tries (and sometimes fewer depending on the problem), you may be eligible to receive a full refund.
When Does a Car Qualify as a Lemon?
In order for a car to be considered a lemon under the law, it must generally have a serious manufacturing defect that substantially impairs its use, value, or safety and it cannot be fixed after a reasonable number of attempts by the manufacturer.
Additionally, the issue must typically occur within a certain number of miles driven or months owned from when the vehicle was first purchased or leased. In California, for example, if the problem occurs within the basic limited warranty of 36 months of purchase or 36,000 miles driven - whichever comes first- then your car may be classified as a lemon.
California Lemon Law Buyback
Each state has its own specific lemon laws, therefore it is important to consult with an experienced lemon law attorney in your area to determine if your car qualifies. California's lemon law is one of the most comprehensive in the US, and unlike many other states, the California lemon law covers a new or used car.
California's Lemon Law is sometimes also referred to as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, which was implemented by Congress in the 1970s to protect consumers and to hold manufacturers and dealers responsible for their defective vehicles under federal law.
In California, the lemon law buyback protects individuals who purchase a vehicle under warranty. In the unfortunate event that the vehicle should develop serious defects that cannot be fixed by the manufacturer after a reasonable number of attempts, the customer may be eligible for a California Lemon Law Buyback. In this case, the manufacturer can either replace the defective vehicle or buy it back.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Receive if My Car is a Lemon?
If your vehicle is classified as a lemon, you may be entitled to seek compensation from the manufacturer in the form of a refund or replacement vehicle. In some cases, you may also be able to receive reimbursement for certain expenses related to your troubles, such as towing fees, car storage expenses, rental car costs, and other repair costs.
The bottom line is that if your defective vehicle is still under warranty, the manufacturer doesn't only replace the vehicle with full warranties for protection, but they also have to cover taxes, licensing fees, registration, financing charges, paid interest, and all legal fees required for the filing of this case.
How do Lemon Law Lawyers get paid?
Should you end up with a lemon, ideally you will be able to come to an amicable agreement with your manufacturer and settle the issue without arbitration, litigation, or trial.
However, if things don't go to plan and your grievances with the manufacturer or dealer escalate, you can enlist the help of an experienced lemon law attorney to assist you in your lemon law case and seek compensation from the manufacturer. The good news is that most lemon law lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that they only get paid if they are successful in obtaining a settlement or verdict on your behalf.
The way this works is that your lemon law attorney will typically include their fees, costs and expenses for any legal services rendered in your lemon law claim and add it to the settlement they propose on your behalf (an "all-inclusive" settlement). Sometimes manufacturers will refuse to resolve your case with an all-inclusive settlement. In those cases, your lemon law attorney can settle your claim first for you and then pursue their attorney fees, costs and expenses separately or through the Court. Reputable lemon law lawyers will always break down the process for you and explain how they have reached a particular settlement figure.
Will I Get Charged My Lemon Law Attorney's Fee?
Under California's lemon law, in most cases, the offending car manufacturers are responsible for settling attorney fees and costs.
California law requires that if a vehicle has been deemed a lemon, settling the lemon law attorney's fees falls on the manufacturer, and therefore there should never be an upfront payment sought from you for any lemon law claims. If your case is settled out of court the manufacturer will provide you with your remedy and pay the California lemon law fees directly to your attorney.
Most reputable and trusted lemon law attorneys will clearly explain the process to you and break down their figures for full transparency. Be wary of any lemon lawyer who requires money from you upfront.
How Much Do Lemon Law Lawyers Charge?
Most lemon law lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if they win your case. If your case is successful, the lemon lawyer will typically include their incurred attorney fees, costs and expenses in your settlement demand. Some attorneys charge a percentage of amounts recovered beyond a repurchase or a replacement in exceptional circumstances -- when additional damages are paid as part of your settlement.
So, for example, if your lemon law attorney is able to secure a repurchase of your vehicle and an additional $10,000 settlement for you in additional damages, they may charge a 45% contingency fee, which would leave you with $6,500 (in addition to your vehicle refund) after their fee is deducted. In most instances, the lawyer will also receive reimbursement for any expenses incurred during the case from the manufacturer.
It is also important to note that many lemon law attorneys will advance the costs incurred in pursuing your case, such as filing fees, expert witness fees, and deposition costs and you only have to pay these expenses back if your lemon attorney is successful in obtaining a recovery for you. However, this advance is typically paid at the time of case resolution from the settlement proceeds.
Before hiring a lemon law lawyer, be sure to always ask about their fee structure and how they will get paid if your case is successful. This way, you will know what to expect and you won't be surprised by the contingency fees later on.
What are Some of the Benefits of Using a Lemon Law Lawyer?
There are many benefits of using lemon law experts, such as:
You don't have to pay any upfront fees prior to your lemon law process commencing.
You won't have to worry about paying for any expenses related to your case or covering extortionate court costs.
You can level the playing field against a large corporation.
You can get expert legal help to fight your battle.
You can rest easy that your case is handled by the best in the business.
Why You Should Choose Beck Law Office?
We at Beck Law Office know how frustrating and intimidating it can feel to be stuck with a lemon knowing that manufacturers are often reluctant to fulfil their legal obligation until a lemon law attorney gets involved.
Clients are often anxious about accruing eyewatering legal fees for legal representation, and because of this they often go without help even though this shouldn't be the case.
The Beck Law Office has a decade of experience working alongside major law firms in Los Angeles and accruing all the wisdom and knowledge there is about the California lemon law claim process to successfully fight on all our customers' behalf. We are experts in California lemon law and our personable, individualized, transparent, and efficient approach to all our clients has earnt us the title of one of the most trusted lemon lawyers in California.
If you think you may have a lemon law claim, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation. We would be happy to review your case and answer any questions you may have about the lemon law or our services.