Purchasing a vehicle is one of the most significant financial investments that a person will make during his or her lifetime. Access to a personal vehicle can be an incredible convenience, but having a car can quickly turn into a nightmare if you purchase a vehicle that is constantly breaking down.
To help protect consumers against unnecessary financial hardship, most states have lemon laws in place. These laws are designed to prevent the sale of a defective vehicle without full disclosure. If you have purchased a lemon of a vehicle, you can take legal action to recover some of your damages.
Maintain a record of all vehicle repairs.
In order to mount a successful case against the dealer who sold you a defective car, you will need to prove that the defects were out of the ordinary and exceeded reasonable expectation.
Each time you take your vehicle to the mechanic for repairs, document the date the vehicle went in for repairs, the parts and labor required to restore proper function, and the date your vehicle was returned. You should also ask your mechanic to provide a written explanation as to why each repair was needed.
This information will help you prove that it wasn't your driving habits or an accident that caused the vehicle to malfunction, but that the vehicle was defective from the time you purchased it.
Record conversations between yourself and the dealership.
Most people attempt to contact the dealer from whom they purchased a vehicle when the car is discovered to be defective. It's important that you record all conversations you have with a dealership regarding your vehicle if you are planning to pursue legal action.
E-mail messages should be saved and printed out, and you should take thorough notes that document the content of all conversations that occur on the phone or face-to-face. This correspondence can be used by your attorney to prove that you attempted to work with the dealer, but were unable to reach a suitable resolution.
Prepare digital evidence that provides visual proof of defects.
If you have to take your lemon law case to court, it can be helpful to have photographic and video evidence of the defects discovered in your vehicle.
Documenting malfunctions by taking before and after photographs of repairs or recording a video that illustrates significant mechanical malfunctions will help you prove that the vehicle you purchased is defective. You will need this type of evidence to win your lemon law case.
Talk to a lawyer like those at San Jose Lemon Law Center for additional information.