Florida consumers rightfully expect vehicle manufacturers and dealerships to maintain integrity in their dealings and ensure that vehicles are free from defects. However, despite due diligence, in some cases, motorists end up with a defective car. These vehicles are commonly referred to as “lemons.” Fortunately, federal and state laws protect consumers in these situations.
Florida’s “Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act,” or “Lemon Law,” protects customers who purchase new or nearly new vehicles. In some instances, the law protects consumers who lease vehicles or purchase a defective recreational vehicle. The law applies to vehicles purchased for personal, family, or household use. It extends to anyone to whom the vehicle is transferred for the same purposes during the statutory period. The statutory period is generally 24 months following delivery to the consumer. The law covers “nonconformities” to the vehicle, which substantially impairs the vehicle’s use, value, or safety. However, the law does not apply when the consumer’s negligence, abuse, or unauthorized alteration caused the defect.
Under the law, manufacturers that cannot adequately repair a defect, must repurchase or replace a vehicle. The law permits the manufacturer a reasonable number of attempts to repair the vehicle before mandating repurchase or repair. Generally, a manufacturer will have to repurchase after they unsuccessfully resolved the problems three or more times or if the car is in a repair shop for more than 30 days.
Although the law seems straightforward, consumers often face difficulties in implementing their remedies. In some cases, manufacturers will require arbitration, or argue that the claimant is at fault for the defect, or inadequately repair the vehicle. For example, recently, a state court issued an opinion stemming from a plaintiff’s assertion that a car manufacturer disregarded their duties under the state’s lemon laws. In that case, amongst several other issues, the plaintiff argued that the manufacturer disregarded their duty to adequately repair the car after discovering an electrical defect. The court reasoned there was evidence to support a finding that the manufacturer intentionally inadequately repaired the defect during the warranty period. Ultimately, the court found in favor of the plaintiff regarding the violation of the state’s lemon law.
Florida maintains additional laws that may assist a consumer in cases where the lemon law is inapplicable. Defective car parts can result in serious injuries and accidents, and it is important that victims contact an attorney to discuss their rights and remedies in these situations.
Have You Suffered Injuries Because of a Defective Vehicle?
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries because of a dangerous or defective product, contact the Florida product liability attorneys at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada, P.A. The attorneys at our law firm have extensive experience representing clients in their claims against negligent drivers, government entities, insurance companies, and manufacturers. Through our representation clients have recovered significant amounts of compensation for injuries. Contact our office at 877-448-8585, or through our online form, to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our law firm. Calling is free, and you will not be billed for our services unless we can help you obtain compensation for your injuries.