If you have recently purchased an automobile that is not working as it should – whether it be an issue relating to the proper use, safety, or value of the car – then no doubt you are primarily concerned with making sure that the issue is fixed so that you get what paid for, or, failing that, that you are given a refund on your purchase price. Winning that ultimate remedy is of course what you are most focused on, but, in obtaining a full refund, it will be necessary to determine whether your car is a “lemon” under your state's lemon law or whether there is an “automobile defect.” In one sense, any issue affecting the use, safety, or value of your car might be considered a “defect,” but pursuing an automobile defect claim will be different than pursuing a lemon law claim in getting the justice you deserve.
The Basics of a Lemon Law Claim
Lemon law claims are based on your state lemon laws, but, in general, there must be an express warranty in effect on either your used or new car. If there is such an express warranty in effect, and there is an issue affecting the use, safety, or value of your car, then you should present your automobile to the manufacturer for repair of the issue.
The manufacturer has a responsibility to fix the issue, and if they do not do so after a reasonable number of repair attempts (In Mississippi, you will be presumed to have made a reasonable number of repair attempts if you have taken the car in for repairs three times or if the car has been out of commission for 15 days within the first year of ownership), then you are entitled to pursue a refund of the purchase price of your car (plus fees and other costs) through a lemon law claim. In Mississippi, you must make this attempt within the first year of ownership.
How an Auto Defect Claim is Different
An auto defect claim is somewhat different from a lemon law claim. There is generally not a requirement of an express warranty, a reasonable number of repair attempts, or a time limit on when you can pursue the claim. Instead, with an auto defect claim, you will be making the argument that there was either a manufacturing defect or a design defect which has caused your car to not work properly. That said, you should speak with an attorney as soon as you became aware of a potential auto defect so that meet statute of limitation requirements and your attorney can best investigate the nature of the defect in support of winning your case.
In arguing that there was a manufacturing defect, you will be saying that there was actually a defect in how your automobile was manufactured, e.g. an error that was made on the assembly line floor. With a design defect, you are arguing that the automobile was defectively designed from the start.
We have seen many carmakers release defectively designed automobiles in recent years, with issues ranging from sudden unintended acceleration to faulty airbags to fraudulently designed emissions systems and everything in between. Oftentimes, auto design defect claims are brought as class actions to maximize the leverage of injured consumers in taking on the world's largest automakers.
Bringing Your Lemon Law or Auto Defect Claim
If you have an issue affecting the use, safety, or value of your recently purchased new or used car, you should speak with an experienced auto defect and lemon law attorney as soon as possible to determine your best options for maximum recovery.
At Herrington Law, we have successfully represented auto consumers across Mississippi in recovering the purchase price of their new and used cars through both lemon law claims and auto defect claims, and are committed to winning justice for auto consumers who've suffered losses through no fault of their own. Contact us today to begin assessing and pursuing your lemon law claim as quickly as possible.