I was recently speaking with a friend of mine, who lives in New York State. He was talking about a truck he had purchased from a used car dealer not far from his home. In the two months that he had owned it, it had been in the shop four times. Three of those four repairs were related to the heat in the vehicle – he didn’t have any. While we, in Saint Petersburg, Florida, enjoy relatively moderate temperatures this time of year, he said that the dash thermometer was reading just three degrees when the heat cut out on him the last time.
Having returned it to the dealership’s service department each time, he was beyond frustrated with the “we don’t know what’s wrong” response he was getting. The fourth visit to the repair shop meant that he was without the truck for more than a week. In fact, at the time that I was talking with him, he still hadn’t gotten it back yet. He was getting some legal assistance and was very likely going to be compensated as a result of something called the “Lemon Law.”
This is a phrase that every motor vehicle owner should be aware of. The Lemon Law in New York State, where my friend is living, varies slightly from that in Florida, but the same principal applies.
In Florida, a person has 24 months to report a vehicle when it is suspected that the car, truck, van, or other auto breaks the Lemon Law, which is to say that the vehicle has serious flaws that impair the use, value, or safety of it. It is important to maintain records of repairs done and related expenses in case they are needed for this report.
How does this pertain to the work done by personal injury attorneys? When a person knowingly sells you a vehicle that is unsafe and you suffer monetary damage as a result, you have the right to sue in personal injury court. Take, for instance, the story of my friend above. On a super cold day, like the one he mentioned, the windows are likely to fog over. If the heat in the vehicle is not operating correctly, it can become very difficult to clear the windshield, making it nearly impossible to see oncoming traffic clearly. If this were to lead to an auto accident, which it easily could, then the damage suffered by my friend, anyone riding with him, and any other victims in a potential car accident, could be blamed on the mechanical failure. If the person selling him that truck knew such problems existed, he or she would likely be deemed negligent and would be liable for the costs associated with the auto accident.
A similar problem could easily arise right here in warm Saint Petersburg. Imagine if you were sold a vehicle that was known to have serious brake problems or that had repeated engine malfunctions. Suddenly, the dangers faced on the road have escalated and who would be deemed responsible if you should suffer a serious car accident? It is always recommended that you seek legal representation after an accident, but if you suspect that the vehicle you were driving would fall under the Lemon Law, then you have added reason to seek the help of a personal injury attorney.