Lemon Law Attorneys Should Do What’s Best for the Client, Not What’s Easiest
Norman Taylor & Associates
December 1, 2008
Every endeavor has an ideal scene, an ideal outcome. That can’t always be achieved; if it could I would be living in a villa on the Costa del Sol sipping something tall and cool with a lime wedge on the rim. But every excellent law firm should have as its primary goal getting as close to that ideal scene for their clients as possible and never agreeing to less. That goal should be resolving its client’s lemon law cases with the best possible outcome. We have that goal.
Doing the right thing is not always the easiest way, but experience tells us over-and-over, short cuts simply don’t get the best result.
When the consumer gets a bad car or truck that cannot be fixed after what is obviously a reasonable number of attempts he or she looks around for help. Fortunately there are choices. The legal avenue in California and the other forty-nine states is the Lemon Law.
When the consumer, caught on this seemingly endless road, looks for an attorney there are certain qualities and abilities that must be present. The following are a few of the essentials for the best client representation.
- Excellent communication with the client
- Experience and knowledge of the lemon law
- Real understanding of the client’s situation
- A history of success
The better lemon law firms do not leave their clients wondering what is going on. When their cars and trucks are constantly breaking down, obviously they are worried. Their vehicles are essential to their survival. We know that lemon law, any kind of law for that matter, involves a lot of waiting, and there is only so much control that can be exerted to move the court’s calendar along. Our clients are so informed, and with this understanding do not wonder what is happening. Courts are under-staffed and inundated with the details of hundreds, even thousands of cases. We keep our client’s informed of their case status, regardless.
We have learned from client’s who came to us after the experience of another law firm, that after they were signed up they didn’t hear from their attorneys for weeks, even months. We understand that even if there is nothing happening at a given moment, we are the one’s who understand what is taking place and it is our duty to ensure that our clients know we are there and that we are on top of it.
The best lemon law firms do the lemon law. They are not spattered all over the legal map trying to handle every sort of case that comes through the front door. Every lemon law case is to some degree different; they have different defect histories, some cases are with very new vehicles, some are Certified Pre-Owned, some cases are safety related and some cases include an element of fraud. Having the broad experience of thousands of different lemon law cases over decades of work is extremely valuable for the potential client when looking for a lemon law firm.
Caring about the client:
If this seems like wishy-washy nonsense to some law firms, that it should be business as usual, we disagree. What is the saying? “Walk a mile in another man’s shoes if you want to know how they feel.” It’s good advice. The law firm that holds this standard important should not be considered soft. It means they know why they are in the fight and have all the more reason to do it well. When an employee of a law firm discovers that his or her client has had their rights trampled on, they had better care about it and dedicate themselves to righting that particular wrong.
A history of success:
The only way this can be achieved is by doing all of the above. The better lemon law firms stick to a high standard of the law. Perhaps even more important, they always have the goal of achieving the best possible outcome for their client. This does not mean that every case that asks for help is accepted. Each case must be judged on its own merits and must in our estimation be worth the clients while to go forward. With years of experience in front of judges and juries, a seasoned lemon law attorney knows that a good case “on paper” does not always make a good case to a judge and jury. With more than 30 years of experience and thousands of cases from which to draw upon, we are offer the unique perspective of a much higher than average ability to estimate the probable outcome of various case situations. This is where experience pays off, and is a large part of our success.
The first commandment of a doctor is “above all, do no harm.” For the law firm perhaps it should be, “above all, tell the truth.” There are several possible outcomes when proceeding with a lemon law case. Usually the attorney is seeking a full refund or a replacement. If a refund is the client’s wish, at Norman Taylor & Associates we often try to accomplish this by offering the manufacturer a chance to settle without going to litigation. In truth, it is better for the manufacturer and for the client. Also a fact, manufacturers regrettably do not have the same standard. Their standard appears to have been set by accountants whose job it is to remove the consumer from the equation and put in its place, money. Current events in the auto industry suggest that their methods do not work.
The facts of the case however, may make the recovery of a full refund impossible unless the consumer is willing to persist with a law suit. This process typically takes from 10 months to a year, sometimes longer, in California. It may be more or less in other states depending on the efficiency and case load of their court systems.
In some cases a cash settlement is the best one can expect from a case, because critical or key issues could go either for the consumer or against the consumer. Any trial attorney whether practicing lemon law or not will tell you there are a multitude of factors to weigh when attempting to estimate the probable outcome in any given case. It may be that the client makes a poor witness. A poor witness may have the best case in the world, but can reduce the chances of success remarkably. It may be the case comes down to which expert the jury will believe – the consumer’s or the manufacturers. The assortment of possible variables in lemon law cases can go on for pages – but a skilled trial attorney makes it their job to realistically size up the issues in advance and figure a way to overcome them or face the reality of the coin toss, and achieve the best outcome for their client. The better law firms always ensure the client fully understands the options and what is needed to present the best possible case and make the best decisions along the way.
Selecting your lemon law firm
Not all manufacturers or dealerships are the same. Some, certainly not enough really do have the consumer’s best interests at heart. This is also true for lemon law firms. Norman Taylor & Associates very definitely wants to be known as a firm that holds the qualities listed above as essential in the present and in the future. If you find yourself in a situation where you need the assistance of a lemon law attorney, take a little time. Do your homework. Look at their record. See what others who have used their services have to say. Talk to other attorneys who have sent their clients to us and see what they have to say. Be certain they offer you a free case evaluation without delay. Never be afraid to ask hard questions. It’s important and it can determine the outcome of your association.