There are few feelings worse than finding out that the vehicle you just purchased is defective. Buying a "lemon" can cost you hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on top of the original sale price. It can also cause serious injuries or fatalities if your car fails while you're driving it.
To protect consumers from dealers who sell such vehicles, West Virginia's lemon law allows people to sue the dealers or manufacturers who sold them lemons. This blog from consumer fraud attorney Jeff Mehalic breaks down how to file a claim under the lemon law. With more than 30 years of experience protecting ordinary people from fraud, Jeff is dedicated to fighting powerful institutions on his clients' behalf.
What is the West Virginia Lemon Law?
West Virginia's lemon law protects consumers whose vehicles have a defect or condition that:
- Substantially lowers its value or your ability to operate it.
- Occurred within the first 12 months of purchase.
- Cannot be fixed after three attempts at an authorized dealership.
In West Virginia, the law also applies if:
- The vehicle spends 30 or more days in the shop during the first year after purchase. Those days do not have to be consecutive.
- The defect can cause severe injury or death and was not fixed after one repair attempt.
Finally, the federal lemon law protects consumers if the problems occurred more than one year after purchase, but while the vehicle was still under warranty at the time the defects were discovered.
How Do I File a Lemon Law Claim?
If you feel that a car you bought is a lemon, you have a couple options for how to proceed with your claim. First, you should make an appointment to have the car inspected and repaired. You should get repair invoices for every service you have done and keep a personal log of your repair visits. Even if the vehicle has been repaired, you can still file a claim if the defects occurred during the year after purchase or under warranty.
You can attempt to address the issue with the manufacturer, either directly or through the dealer. Often, the manufacturer will not simply resolve your claim and will want you to submit to arbitration. In West Virginia, you do not have to do this.
Your best option may be to consult with Jeff Mehalic. He can file a lawsuit on your behalf and kick-start your compensation process without you having to submit to arbitration or negotiate directly with the manufacturer.
What Damages Can I Recover From a Lemon Law Claim?
The damages you may be eligible for under the West Virginia lemon law include:
- Refund of the vehicle's purchase price, registration fee, and sales tax
- Compensation for the diminished value of the vehicle
- The cost of repairs, if the car is fixable
- Expenses for alternative transportation such as taxis, Uber or Lyft rides, and public transportation tickets
- Your inconvenience
Under West Virginia law, your attorney's fees will be paid by your settlement or award. The law shifts costs for the benefit of consumers, requiring the manufacturer to pay your attorneys' fees if you win your case.
Quiz: Do I Have a West Virginia Lemon Law Claim?
Contact Our West Virginia Lemon Law Lawyer Today
Jeff Mehalic has more than 30 years of experience fighting for justice on behalf of wronged consumers. He practices alone, so your case will not be handed off to a junior partner. Jeff will work with you one-on-one and will be intimately familiar with the details of your case.
Jeff serves Morgantown, Wheeling, Martinsburg, and nearby areas of West Virginia. Call (304) 346-3462 today to schedule a consultation.