Every year, too many lives are lost to car accidents on America’s roads and highways. Car accidents can cause debilitating injuries, affect the ability to work, build staggering medical and insurance costs and create overwhelming emotional problems. Dealing with these issues should be more than enough after a car accident, but it’s possible that consumers will also need to consider whether a safety defect in their vehicle contributed to the car accident. Lemon law attorneys are usually involved with consumer’s cases well in advance of any car accidents; however, should an accident occur because of a safety defect, any pending or future lemon law claim could become more complicated.
Vehicle experts have determined that many vehicles with safety defects are dangerous to drive. Following a car accident, consumers may be left wondering what their responsibility is for a car accident caused by the safety defects in their vehicle. Generally, a safety defect in an automobile is attributable to the manufacturer and not the consumer. However, to protect themselves, consumers should take steps before purchasing or leasing a vehicle. Before signing any paperwork to purchase or lease a vehicle, consumers should first run a vehicle history report to determine whether the vehicle has been involved in any previous car accidents or whether any prior extensive repairs have been made on the vehicle. Laws in the United States do not require insurance companies to file a report indicating repairs on vehicles, so it is possible that extensive repair work may have been done on a vehicle with no record of those repairs.
Some experts also recommend checking the federal government’s National Motor Vehicle Title Information System and taking a vehicle to a mechanic before making a purchase. The title information system can help consumers determine whether there are any issues with the vehicle’s title that could potentially void a sale or impair a future lemon law claim. It may also be valuable for consumers to have a prospective vehicle thoroughly reviewed by a certified mechanic so that he or she can inspect the vehicle for structural or performance issues that may not appear on a vehicle history report or during an initial review of the vehicle.
Other than safety defects and car accidents, consumers could also find themselves with potential legal issues should they stop making payments on their defective vehicle. Many consumers believe that because they have initiated a lemon law claim or because their vehicle is exhibiting signs of material defects, is spending a lot of time at the dealership for repairs or may even be inoperable, they can simply stop making payments on their vehicle loan. The lemon law provides relief to consumers through replacement vehicles and monetary compensation; however, any relief a consumer is owed is delivered to a consumer following a successful lemon law suit. Consumers that stop making payments may be considered in default of their loan and experience repossession of the vehicle or other legal consequences.