We believe that our clients should understand their legal rights.
If you or a family member got a lemon motor vehicle, or you were defrauded by an automobile dealer or other merchant, or if you purchased or leased a defective automobile, you have an important decision to make.
To protect your rights and get maximum relief in minimum time, the old adage of “you get what you pay for” is still true. The attorney who works on a contingent fee basis gets paid a part of what you recover. We think that is your money. So instead of that approach, we make the defendant in your case pay us for the time it takes to fight them. That way, we work for you.
You need an attorney who knows what he is doing, who has the experience to do it right the first time, and who is willing to take your case to trial if the defendant is not willing to settle the way you want. Our Kentucky Lemon Law attorneys work your way. If you want to phone us, we’ll talk. If you want to stop by our office, you can. If you want to email us, please do. Helping you get what you want, that is our goal. Getting you the Lemon Law relief you want is what we do. Also, the law can be different from state to state, so you may want to be sure your attorney actually is admitted to practice law in Kentucky and is easy to communicate with. We know our clients are busy. So we use telephone and email for quick responses to their questions and to let them know what is going on with their case. When you have a question, you need an answer. We do that too.
Courts frequently require attorneys to appear at the courthouse and if your attorney has to fly in from Chicago, or from Cleveland, or hire another attorney to “stand in” for your case, you should wonder whether this will impact your rights or influence the attorney’s advice to you about any settlement offer made by the other side in your case.
We believe it is important for you to consider the following:
Make and keep records.
Regardless of who may be at fault, the dealer or the manufacturer, it is helpful to obtain a copy of your repair documents from the dealership (they call them “repair orders”), learn the identity of the people you deal with at the dealership and who you talk to from the manufacturer (on the telephone or in person) and keep records of the names and dates and conversations. You should keep copies of receipts of all of your expenses which are related to the vehicle, including insurance and loan payments and repair costs which you think you should not have had to pay, as well as rental car expenses.
You do not have to sign anything.
You may not want to give an interview or a recorded statement to someone from the manufacturer without first consulting with an attorney, because the statement can be used against you. If you may be at fault for lack of maintenance or failing to timely report a defect, it may be advisable to consult an attorney right away. However, if a defect in your vehicle causes an accident, and you have insurance, your insurance policy probably requires you to cooperate with your insurance company and to provide a statement to your insurance company. If you fail to cooperate with your insurance company, it may void your coverage. That will not have anything to do, in most cases, with the responsibility which the manufacturer may have to you for a defective vehicle.
You against them.
Your interests and those of the car dealership or the manufacturer are in conflict. Your interests may also be in conflict with your own insurance company, if the defect has caused an accident for example. Even if you are not sure who is at fault, you or the manufacturer or the car dealership, you should contact your own insurance company if the defect causes an accident, and advise the company of the incident in order to protect your insurance coverage. If you are not sure whether the car dealer or the manufacturer is at fault for your defects, then you should contact an attorney.
There is a time limit to file a claim.
Legal rights, including filing a lawsuit or an insurance claim, are subject to time limits. You should ask what time limits apply. You may need to act immediately to protect your rights.
Get it in writing.
You may want to request that any offer of settlement from the car dealer or the manufacturer be put in writing, including a written explanation of the type or amount of damages which they are willing to cover.
Legal assistance may be appropriate.
You may consult with an attorney before you sign any document or release of claims or agree to any “arbitration” process. A release may cut off all future rights against others, obligate you to repay past expenses of the dealership or manufacturer, or jeopardize your own future rights or benefits. You always have the right to discuss the matter with an attorney of your choice.
How to find an attorney.
If you need professional advice about a legal problem but do not know an attorney, you may wish to check with relatives, friends, neighbors, your employer or coworkers who may be able to recommend an attorney. Your local bar association may have a lawyer referral service. That can be found in the yellow pages of the phone book. You also can look on the internet for information about attorneys. Of course, we think you have found the best attorney for your “lemon law” and “consumer law” problem right here already.
Check a Lawyer’s qualifications.
Before hiring any lawyer, you have the right to know the lawyer’s background, training and experience in dealing with cases similar to yours. Does the lawyer have more than 22 years of experience in representing people like you against car dealers and car manufacturers? Has the lawyer handled thousands of cases like yours already? Has the lawyer argued cases in the Court of Appeals as well as the Ohio Supreme Court which are similar to yours? Has the lawyer appeared in Federal Courts in cases like yours as well as State courts? Has the lawyer actually handled a trial similar to what your case has involved in it, or will you be his/her “learning experience?”
How much will it cost?
In deciding whether to hire a particular lawyer, you should discuss, and the lawyer’s written fee agreement should reflect:
- How is the lawyer to be paid?
- If you already have a settlement offer, how will that effect the attorney fee agreement?
- How are the expenses involved in your case going to be paid (such as telephone calls, deposition costs, expert witness fees, etc.)?
- Will these costs be charged to you as they are incurred, or will you be “surprised” by them at the end of the case?
- Since you may be obligated to pay all expenses even if you lose your case, how will payment be arranged if you have not been making regular payments along the way?
- Who will handle your case? If the case goes to trial, who will be the trial attorney (the attorney you are talking with, or someone else who has never handled a case like yours but works in the same attorney’s office or who is a friend of the attorney)?
This information is not intended as a complete description of your legal rights, but as a check list of some of the important issues that you should consider.