What Should You as a Motorist Do If You Bought a Lemon Car and It Got Involved in an Accident?

March 10, 2018

When you think of yourself as a motorist, especially if you plan on getting a new car, the feeling can sometimes be extremely overwhelming. This is especially if this will be your first car or a car you've earned with your savings. It doesn't necessarily have to be brand new, but the feeling of having a car to call your own can finally be a breath of fresh air. Not only is this your first step towards independence, but having a car is extremely convenient in a lot of ways. Unfortunately, the desire of others to get their own cars can more or less be exploited by others who want to cheat to earn a few extra bucks. As a result, buying a lemon car has been a source of dread for some.

Understanding Lemon Law

When you’re involved in a car accident with a lemon, getting compensation can be tricky because a lot of factors are considered. This is because accidents involving lemon cars also rely a lot on whether or not lemon cars are considered as such before you even get the compensation you may deserve. 

For the unfamiliar, a lemon is a kind of car that has a lot of defects. These defects can be so severe that they can affect the overall use, value, and safety of the vehicle in question. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, a lot of states in the United States actually have Lemon Laws in place. Specifics on regulations are set by states, but you can be protected from penalties of owning a lemon if you've bought it from a car dealership. In general, criteria for Lemon Law include:

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    If your lemon vehicle has been to a shop for repairs for a particular number of times and hasn't gotten itself repaired properly. Some states also count the days your lemon vehicle has stayed in a repair shop for maintenance.
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    You have reported problems with the lemon car for at least one time within a specific time frame, or before reaching a particular mileage. 
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    The problem with your lemon car is not caused by yourself or another person, especially in terms of alteration, accident, neglect, and/or abuse.

According to DMV, in California specifically, a car is considered a lemon for meeting certain criteria. This criterion is if it met 18,000 miles or upon 18 months within its delivery to the owner, it continues to break down. If proven to be a lemon vehicle, then the dealership is obliged to replace the lemon car with a working model. 

The criteria imposes that if there have been at least two attempts to repair a problem that can cause severe injuries or death, or if the manufacturer has attempted to repair a single problem for at least four times, or if the car has been out of commission for more than a month due to repairs, then the car may be a lemon.

Given the above basic background, it might be a reason to worry that dealing with lemon can indeed be a hassling affair for finances. However, just what should you do as a motorist if your lemon car was caught in an accident? 

Lemons and Accidents: Observe, Assess, Act

Regardless of whether or not you find yourself safe and sound, or if you had yourself treated for injuries, it might be a sound idea to seek legal advice on the matter, especially if you have difficulty finding out as to just what you should do in this situation. 

Aside from Lemon Law, you have to consider the traffic laws in the place where the accident took place, as well as the situation at hand. For instance, were there injured parties? How damaged was the car? A lawyer might be the best person to be able to help you deal with this predicament. If you're curious as to just what a lawyer could do to aid you in your specific lemon car predicament, click here for more information.

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    For instance, if none of the parties involved in the accident were injured, it's important to get a good grasp on the other damages present in the scene. Was your car the only car that was damaged? What about the other party? Were there private or public infrastructure that was damaged in the process? The more things that were damaged, the more things that could be brought up in court. 
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    If there were injured parties, how severe were the injuries? Were there any deaths? Were you injured? If ever you have to seek immediate medical attention, try your best to be able to secure copies of all reports and correspondence, as well as medical bills, should your lawyer advise you to seek compensation.
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    In the same token, if you have the capacity to do so, try to take pictures of the scene if you can so you have things to show to your insurer. These include your injuries, the damages to your car, and damages to the scene as well.

Conclusion

Buying a lemon car is something a lot of motorists avoid, especially since it can potentially provide a lot of hassle on your end as a consumer. The processes involved in proving your car is a lemon, and you deserve compensation can be time-consuming and frustrating. This is much more so if the lemon car in question has been involved in an accident as well. Remember that if you're not too acquainted with the intricacies of Lemon Law in your state, a lawyer might be able to help you with your woes. 

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