What to ask when hiring a lemon law attorney to avoid a sour experience.
Happy new year–we hope you enjoyed a happy holiday with family and friends.
2008 will soon be upon us and as folks reneter reality after their holiday break, their cars will no doubt provide a source of anger and frustration. Do you know that if the same problem occurs three or more times under manufacturers warranty, you could be at least be entitled to monetary damages and possibly a complete refund or buyback? (In some states, such as Maryland and Delaware, you will need four occurrences.)
The fact of the matter is that many distressed drivers are letting thousands of dollars slip between their fingers because they are not properly informed. While folks are familiar with the “Lemon Law” per se, there are other laws out there as well, including the Federal Magnuson Moss Warranty Act. In addition, many times consumers turn to the dealership for information on their consumer rights. That’s kind of like asking the man who sold you the chainsaw what to do after you accidentally cut your thumb. They are not attorneys and have no real clue about your rights. If you are lucky, they will refer you to our Lemon Law Firm such as ours. If not, they could see dollar signs and persuade you to trade your lemon in for a new car, increasing their profit margin and your negative equity. Remember, the only person interested in helping you is YOU! You need to be informed about your rights.
Now, they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and since we opened as one of the first lemon law firms in the Nation back in 1991 (and THE first in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware), many lawyers have opened their doors offering lemon law assistance. Firms have taken note of our efforts and in recent months have spent tremendous amounts of money placing internet advertisements. Copy-cat websites are popping up all over. We have seen firms come and go within a few months; while others try to sell their services by making strange claims. One firm actually tries to convince consumers that they can be in closer contact with clients and that as such, it makes up for their inexperience in Lemon Law representation.
When hiring a lemon law attorney, it is very important that you ask questions and not rely solely on self-promoting advertisements and websites. Here are some items you should always consider:
- Experience– Kimmel & Silverman is the Northeast’s Largest Lemon law and Consumer Advocacy Firm, founded in 1991. Each of our 17 attorneys has extensive and daily experience in state Lemon Law and Federal breach of warranty statutes.
- Honors, Awards and Recognition – Our attorneys have been honored as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars in attorney polls conducted by Law & Politics Magazine. We have been named the region’s best Lemon Law Firm in surveys conducted by Philadelphia and SJ Magazine. Our website, LemonLaw.comhas been named one of the best legal websites in the nation by Internet Marketing Attorney Micah Buchdahl. And perhaps, most importantly, Kimmel & Silverman, P.C remains the only firm ever honored by the American Bar Association for our efforts.
- Here are some questions you need to ask a lemon law firm:
- How long has the lawyer been practicing law?
- How long has the lawyer practiced Lemon Law?
- Does the lawyer have a license to practice in the client’s state? (Very important)
- Has the lawyer received any recognition, honors or awards for work performed in the client’s state?
- Has a successful verdict the lawyer tried ever been reported in a legal case reporter? If so, identify the case.
- When was the last time the lawyer received a successful verdict in a Lemon Law case?
- Can the lawyer provide any references of other clients, attorneys, or judges in the client’s state?
- If my case cannot be resolved right away, and a lawsuit is necessary, where would it be filed and why?
- How is the lawyer compensated?
- Is the client advised in writing at the start of the case what their rights and responsibilities are?
- Is a mechanical expert utilized by the law firm to help prove the case, and if so, is his/her involvement free to the client? (We have four ASE-certified experts on staff)
- What does the client need to do to assist the lawyer in a case?
- Does the lawyer have a physical office within the client’s state?
- Is a lawyer and/or their staff available to speak with clients on a daily basis?
- Locations – Beware of the fake office!Our lawyers work in each state we practice, and each of our six offices is fully-staffed. Each office is managed by an experienced Lemon Law attorney and has a staff of knowledgeable litigation support personnel. Very few other Lemon Law firms have physical offices in other states, but many of them say they do. Try calling the local phone number or stopping by sometime though, and there is no office and no live body.
Unfortunately, firms sometimes buy “addresses” to look more established and gain new business. We know of one firm that has no offices in many of the states they claim to practice in. If you see a little asterisk explaining that these are “of counsel” locations, it means they are not directly owned or operated by the law firm. Be as wary of the “of counsel” lawyer as you would be of the “of counsel” surgeon. Limited knowledge and lack of experience is often the hallmark of such arrangements and that could detrimentally affect your case.
Kimmel & Silverman litigators travel each day to wherever we need to be for our clients’ cases, litigating claims where they are likely to have the greatest return for them.
- Credibility – In many states, lawyers are not permitted to use the terms “expert”, “specialist”, or “premier” in advertising because it gives the public an impression that cannot be verified by objective proof *. Sadly, the rules are not always enforced and some firms use them anyway.Rather than accepting the self-promoting tag lines of a law firm, look around and see what community leaders, legislators and the media say. In our region, the media turns to Kimmel & Silverman for Lemon Law information. Outlets such as The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Inside Magazine, Boston Globe, Courier Post, Star Ledger, News Journal, Consumer Reports, Kiplingers, Black Enterprise and hundreds more, have interviewed our attorneys and clients for educational consumer features.
Our attorneys have been interviewed by Good Morning America, The CBS Early Show, Extra, and hundreds of radio and television news and talk programs. Want proof? Visit our online newsroom at www.lemonlaw.com/news.htmland see for yourself that Kimmel & Silverman is the place to turn for news and views consumers can use. In fact, when journalists are faced with their own lemon cars, many have turned to our Firm for help, and they receive it.
- Former Clients – From state senators, to judges, police, media personalities, professional athletes, doctors, religious leaders, fellow lawyers, musicians, union tradesmen, and most importantly, the average person, our clients have come from all parts of society, from diverse economic groups and from all segments of society, and we are proud of it!
- Passion– Kimmel & Silverman is more than just a lemon law firm, we are consumer advocates.
In the Legislature for Better Law:
Kimmel & Silverman was the only outside firm working with the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Consumer Affairs Committee on two critical amendments to the Lemon Law; the first to add leased cars, and the second to both tighten notification for “buyback” cars and penalize violators.
In the Courts to Expand Current Law:
In the last few years alone, we have pushed back the trend of cases favoring business rights over consumer rights. We fought to the Supreme Court of New Jersey against American Honda, which claimed that people who lease cars in New Jersey had no Federal warranty rights. We have been to the Circuit Court of Appeals in Federal Court in cases proving that certain manufacturer-sponsored “informal dispute resolution programs” were not fair to consumers.
We have testified repeatedly and will continue to do so, to promote added protection for motorcycle and Recreational Vehicle owners. Craig Kimmel co-wrote the Nation’s first-ever Computer Lemon Law Bill way back in 1999, and persists in working towards its passage in Pennsylvania and other states.
Our class-action claims have been used to effect substantial changes in production cars suffering from brake, engine and other concerns.
New Jersey Judges recently invited Founding Partner Robert Silverman and several K&S attorneys to train mediators and arbitrators on how to hear Lemon Law cases.
Even our public awareness campaigns and the self titled “Lemon List” of problems cars, has been a positive force in effecting change. In 2002 for example, Mazda revised the design of their MPV minivan and brought it to our attention directly, noting that our publication of the consumer complaints of the prior vehicle was noted by upper levels of the company. Seeking to have us understand that changes were made and consumers were heard, we lauded Mazda for its response to those problems.
Several years ago, we peeled open the lid on secret, but common, dealer financing scams known as “spot delivery”. At information seminars across Pennsylvania and New Jersey, we taught consumers how they can avoid being “taken for a ride” when buying a car. With a team of over fifty attorneys, paralegals, clerks, administrators and experts, we are driven to help consumers.
We hope that this information proves educational and helpful. We thank you for considering Kimmel & Silverman as your Lemon Law attorneys. If you want us on your team, call 1-800-LEMON-LAW or fill out our Get Rid Of Your Lemon form. Your Recovery is Our Success.
We wish you safe driving and all the best for a happy, healthy new year.