Thursday, May 8, 2014
In the wake of the massive recall of 2.6 million small cars due to a deadly ignition switch problem, General Motors is bracing for an onslaught of lawsuits from car owners who claim that their cars lost value due to the recall. The auto giant is now turning to Bankruptcy Court for protection, claiming that the "bankruptcy shield" should protect the "New GM" from any economic loss claims. The company also claims that it should not be responsible for damages in accidents prior to the Chapter 11 filing.
In 2009, after years of losses and market share declines, General Motors filed for bankruptcy. The automaker’s trip to bankruptcy court resulted in the reorganization of the company and the emergence of a new, separate entity, informally named the “New GM” that now operates as General Motors Co. The bankruptcy proceedings helped GM to shed several plants, dealerships and a great deal of debt.
When the company filed for bankruptcy, it owed approximately $55 billion in debt; after the reorganization, the "new GM" owed just $17 billion. Along with residual debt, the "New GM" agreed to take on some of "Old GM's" legal liabilities including some warranty obligations and those for accidents that occurred after the bankruptcy but which involved vehicles manufactured before the bankruptcy. In the face of these new claims, however, the “New GM” contends that they are not responsible for these “economic loss” claims and they should not be on the hook for accidents that resulted in injuries prior to the reorganization.
Claims of Fraud Against the Auto Giant
While attorneys for GM have headed back to bankruptcy court asking the presiding judge to enforce part of the restructuring agreement, plaintiffs around the country are claiming that the bankruptcy shield should not be extended to the “New GM” because the company was aware of the defect and did not disclose this information. Some evidence suggests that the company knew about the defective switches as far back as 2001 but continued to install them in select vehicles. Plaintiffs who suffered losses as a result of these faulty parts claim that GM should have revealed the potential liability during the bankruptcy proceeding. GM is currently the subject of two congressional investigations trying to identify who in the organization knew about the defective parts, and why no action was taken sooner to protect consumers and fellow motorists.
Earlier this year, General Motors issued a recall of over 42,000 Chevrolet Malibu vehicles and just this week the embattled car giant recalled approximately 60,000 Saturn Aura sedans over transmission cables that can fracture. Attorney Timothy Abeel has dedicated his career to helping consumers in lemon law and breach of warranty claims. If you have purchased a new or slightly used car, and it is a lemon, you may be entitled to receive a full refund, new car or a partial refund. Call our offices at 888-830-1474 for a free consultation with a member of our experienced legal team.
Monday, April 7, 2014
A four-year criminal investigation into Toyota's response to safety issues reached a conclusion just weeks ago when the car company agreed on a settlement with the U.S. government that may set a precedent for similar cases, as the penalty Toyota was forced to pay is the largest of its kind imposed on an automotive company by the U.S., as reported by Fox News.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced the settlement in mid-March, stating that the auto giant will pay $1.2 billion as a financial penalty under a "deferred prosecution agreement" for conduct which the attorney general referred to as "shameful."
He said the automaker showed "a blatant disregard for systems and laws designed to look after the safety of consumers. By the company's own admission, it protected its brand ahead of its own customers. This constitutes a clear and reprehensible abuse of the public trust."
The automaker's mistake is a glaring example of what not to do, according to Holder and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, and this case should serve as a warning to other car manufacturers.
Toyota said in a statement that they have "cooperated with the U.S. Attorney's office in this matter for more than four years" and had "made fundamental changes to become a more responsive and customer-focused organization, and we are committed to continued improvements."
After the recall of more than 10 million vehicles beginning in 2009 related to faulty brakes, gas pedals and floor mats, Toyota Motor Corp. paid more than $66 million in fines from 2010 to 2012 for their delay in reporting unintended acceleration problems. In 2013, Toyota paid more than $1 billion to settle hundreds of lawsuits claiming that Toyota owners experienced economic losses due to the recalls.
These settlement negotiations come on the heels of a verdict in an Oklahoma case in which the jury awarded $3 million in damages to an injured driver of a 2005 Camry and to the family of a passenger who was killed.
In all previous unintended acceleration cases that went to trial, Toyota prevailed, making the Oklahoma ruling especially significant. The case was also the first in which attorneys argued that it was the car's electronics that caused the unintended acceleration.
As far as the remaining cases go, Toyota may be more willing to agree on a broad settlement now after the Oklahoma case verdict. Prior to the Oklahoma case, juries in several trials hadn't found Toyota liable.
The recalls cost Toyota millions, as did the series of fines to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the automaker's delay in reporting the acceleration issues, which totaled $68 million.
If you live in Pennsylvania or New Jersey and own a Toyota that is experiencing any one of the aforementioned problems, or some other issue, don't hesitate to contact an experienced Lemon Law attorney today!
Sunday, April 6, 2014
The Benefits of Choosing a Lemon Law Attorney.
You have come to a point where your new or used vehicle has been in to the dealership too many times for the same problem or too many times for all sorts of problems. Its beyond frustrating – you need a resolution.
The advantages of hiring a lemon law attorney for a Pennsylvania lemon law claim or a New Jersey lemon law claim:
a) Representation is free.
A lemon law attorney can represent you against a manufacturer free of charge for your Pennsylvania or New Jersey Lemon Law claim. That gives you the ability to stand on equal footing in Court against a large corporation that has easy access to counsel.
The attorney will advance all costs for Court, legal work and expert inspections. You will not be responsible for the costs of the case – win or lose.
b) Independent Expert Inspection of your vehicle.
Your lemon law attorney can have an expert mechanic examine your vehicle. This will allow the attorney to get the heart of the problem quickly, especially in cases where the dealership has told a consumer their problem cannot be duplicated.
c) Ability to Take the Case to Court / Fast Results.
You need an attorney that is willing to go to Court. This will give you the best leverage towards a favorable settlement. Manufacturers know what attorneys are willing to go to Court and put the time into a case.
Choosing an attorney that will work hard on your case will yield the best results to get your case resolved in a timely manner.
d) Resolution for your Lemon.
You could go it alone, just as you could buy or sell a house on your own, but I wouldn’t recommend it. A lemon law attorney can advise you as to the potential remedies for your case so that can make an informed decision as to the resolution of your lemon law claim.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
G.M.'s February announcement recalling 1.6 million cars has led individuals and law enforcement to second-guess a number of car accident fatality cases in which the motorist was driving a recalled G.M. model, the New York Times reported.
The automakers recalled the vehicles due to a defective ignition switch in various G.M. models that's been linked to 12 deaths, including the 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt that Aubrey Williams of Alabama was driving when she swerved into an oncoming eighteen-wheeler carrying logs. Originally classified as a fatal case of driver distraction, Lexington police reopened Williams' fatal crash investigation and re-classified it as a case of "mechanical failure" after G.M.'s February recall announcement. The original ruling didn't sit well with Williams' father, who knew his daughter, a mother of two, was an extremely careful driver. He suspected the faulty ignition switch and resulting issues might be to blame.
Timothy Abeel & Associates, P.C. is receiving calls from New Jersey and Pennsylvania residents experiencing this dangerous problem with their G.M. vehicles.
More About the General Motors Recall
A defective ignition switch prompted the automaker to recall the vehicles. The switch is apparently very sensitive; a quick hit to the ignition or a heavy key ring could cause the engine to turn off and shut down the car's electrical systems, deactivating the air bags and resulting in other safety and operational problems.
Just last week on the heels of the recall, the government has opened three investigations into the automaker's delayed response in the handling of this issue: one by the Justice Department and two by Congress.
According to General Motors, the 12 fatal accidents involving the recalled vehicles all occurred prior to December 2009. However, the car company has never provided evidence supporting that claim.
The New York Times reported that G.M. made a statement March 12 regarding the recall: “The investigation of the ignition switch recall and the impact of the defective switch is ongoing. We will be better situated to accurately answer questions and provide additional information at the conclusion of the investigation.”
G.M. Auto Recall and Car Malfunction Attorney
Timothy Abeel & Associates P.C. has vast experience in the areas of law related to auto recall and malfunctioning cars, representing consumers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and fighting to get victims of auto recalls all the damages to which they are entitled. We'll work tirelessly to secure your settlement as fast as possible. Give us a call at 1-888-830-1474 for a free consultation.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Purchasing a lemon is a frustrating and costly process that may be avoidable if a consumer follows these steps for purchasing a new or used car in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. There are certain steps you, the consumer, can take to lessen your chances of buying a lemon. We can help if you do end up with a malfunctioning vehicle. Our firm will provide you with expert legal representation and get you favorable results, fast. We'll establish what you are entitled to under the Federal, Pennsylvania or New Jersey Lemon Laws, or other consumer protection statutes.
1. Take time to consider your options when purchasing your new vehicle.
When you decide it's time to get a new vehicle, you might be eager to buy the first car that impresses you with its looks. Like many other things in life, a car is not something you should judge solely on aesthetics. Buying a car is exciting, but keep in mind that it's a huge financial commitment. A vehicle is probably the most expensive item you will purchase besides a home, so it's important to look deeper into your options before making a purchase.
2. Conducting some basic research before you buy a car may prevent you from ending up with a lemon.
You don't just pass by a house with a "for sale" sign and buy it immediately, so why would you go about buying a vehicle that way? Websites like KBB.com (Kelley Blue Book), ConsumerReports.org and CarandDriver.com provide helpful information for prospective buyers, such as the dealer's invoice price for the vehicle and consumer reviews for the make and model you are researching. A little online investigating arms you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision, hopefully leading to the purchase of a reliable vehicle for which you negotiated a fair purchase price.
3. Always take the vehicle you are thinking of buying for a test drive.
It's fine to ask the car sales representative how a vehicle drives, but it shouldn't take the place of taking the car for a ride yourself. You may love the look of a car, but hate the way the steering wheel feels as you drive, or you may have more serious issues with the way the vehicle rides or operates. It's important to test the vehicle on different roadways, not just on the dealer's designated route. Driving on the highway as well as on side streets allows you to test the vehicle at different rates of speed. A test ride will help you determine if you feel safe in the vehicle, and of course, you may discover a non-conformity during a ride. Again, the goal is to find the most dependable vehicle you can for your individual budget, and to confirm that all parts of the vehicle operate as they should before you make a purchase.
4. Don't buy a car just because it comes with a lot of "extras."
The vehicle you want to buy has a DVD player, a sunroof, and steering wheel radio and temperature controls. Seems great, right? Maybe, maybe not. It's imperative that you confirm whether or not the accessories are factory supplied by the vehicle manufacturer, whether this is a new or previously owned car. If a vehicle's "bells and whistles" are not factory-supplied, it can cause a multitude of problems, such as electrical issues and other nonconformities, for which the manufacturer is not responsible. This means the manufacturer's warranty is basically void, as most manufacturers' warranties don't cover issues that arise as a result of non-factory supplied components.
For used cars: Never purchase a car that is being sold "as is." Usually, if a dealer is only willing to sell a vehicle this way, it means they don't even think the car is reliable. Purchasing a car "as is" definitely increases the likelihood that the car is a lemon. The dealer must provide you with a written warranty that covers the car for at least 90 days. Obtaining this document is crucial, especially if the car does end up being a lemon, as it provides legal proof that a warranty was issued and provides the consumer with coverage under consumer laws, as well as the Lemon Law for used vehicles.
5. Federal and State Lemon Laws can help you recover the money you are owed.
There's never a guarantee you won't end up with a lemon. If you find yourself in that unfortunate situation, we can help. Consumers may heed all of the above advice and take every precaution, and still end up with a lemon. There is no foolproof system for buying a car, and numerous makes and models have produced lemons at one time or another. Federal Lemon Law as well as New Jersey and Pennsylvania state Lemon Laws provide protection for vehicles within certain time and mileage limits. An experienced Lemon Law attorney can help you fight to get you the settlement you deserve as fast as possible.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
If the recent purchase of your dream car is turning into your worst nightmare, you might have a lemon on your hands. A lemon is a car that the consumer finds to be defective after they have made the purchase, and because there is such a wealth of misinformation out there about state and federal lemon laws, we figured we would set the record straight. We have put together some myths and their corresponding facts regarding New Jersey and Pennsylvania state Lemon Laws to help you understand the legal parts of the process.
Myth: Your car is not protected under the Lemon Law
The facts: For Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the Lemon Law covers vehicles purchased, leased or registered for the first time (in PA and NJ) that experience defects and/or warranty problems. The law covers vehicles that have been subject to an unreasonable amount of repairs and/or vehicles with problems that significantly impair their use, value or safety.
There are multiple lemon laws available ̶ federal or state lemon laws, as well as provisions ̶ that can help you recover money spent on repairs, and sometimes the full amount you paid for the car, truck, motorcycle, or SUV. Like many aspects of life and the law, this situation is not black and white, as there aren't specific qualifications under lemon law that outright prevent you from collecting the thousands you spent on your vehicle and repairs.
Myth: You have a very narrow time window to file your Lemon Law claim.
The facts: The Lemon Law covers vehicles with defects or warranty problems within the time frames outlined below. Time and mileage limits vary state by state.
New Jersey Lemon Law: First two years or 24,000 miles, but if you purchased a car in New Jersey with problems that occurred after 2 years or 24,000 miles, you may still be protected under consumer protection laws.
Pennsylvania Lemon Law: First year or 12,000 miles, but if you purchased a used car in Pennsylvania or your problems occurred after the first year or 12,000 miles, you may still be protected under consumer protection laws.
Myth: The law requires that you bring your lemon in for repairs a certain number of times before you can file a claim.
The facts: If the manufacturer fails to repair or correct a malfunctioning part after a "reasonable number of attempts," or if your car is out of service due to repairs for 30 business days, you have the option to either have the manufacturer replace the vehicle with a similar one of equal value or take the vehicle back so you can collect a refund on the full purchase or lease price of the vehicle, including all collateral charges.
In the consumer chooses a refund or replacement, they must be reimbursed within 30 days of the decision. However, the consumer does not qualify for a refund or replacement if the problem does not significantly impair the use, value or safety of the vehicle, or if the issue is a result of abuse, neglect or modification on the part of the purchaser.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
We want to address one of the most frequently asked questions we get here at Timothy Abeel & Associates, P.C.:
How much is this going to cost?
New Jersey and Pennsylvania Lemon Laws each include a fee-shifting provision, which requires the motor vehicle manufacturer to pay all attorney fees and legal costs if the consumer wins the case. This is in addition to the money the consumer recovers for repairs and/or the full amount of the car from the manufacturer. As we've stated elsewhere on our site, consumer protection laws provide that attorney fees and costs are paid by the "losing party" or the manufacturer. Our firm covers our clients' costs, including court fees, attorney fees and experts costs, regardless of whether or not you win the case. So there are no upfront or hidden out-of-pocket expenses. We only get paid if we get you a settlement, and we'll put that in writing.
Think your car, truck or SUV is a lemon? We'll help you determine the next steps and provide you with individualized attention regarding your specific legal situation. We always strive to settle cases out of court, but we're prepared to go there if necessary, and will fight to get you the best settlement possible. In order to get you back on the road with money back in your pocket as soon as possible, we'll work aggressively to settle your case within the first 30 to 60 days.
All Makes and Models – All Sorts of Problems...
At Timothy Abeel & Associates, P.C. we handle lemon law claims in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for all makes and models from Acura, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GM...to Volvo. Whether you have a Ford that has a bucking transmission, a Jeep with a water leak or a Sonata that stalls out – we can help.
Hyundai, KIA or Honda navigation systems that black out, blue tooth systems that don’t connect – we can help get you a new car, full refund or cash settlement.
Nissan CVT transmission problem? Airbag light ON with someone in the passenger seat? Tire pressure light ON? An experienced Lemon Law attorney can help! Contact a Lemon Law attorney for a free consultation today!
Sunday, January 19, 2014
When selecting a lawyer there are many options in the marketplace. You want to choose a lawyer that primarily practices in the area of law that you need assistance with, the same way you would choose a doctor. You wouldn’t select a doctor that is a knee specialist if you have a heart problem. Therefore if you have a car that is a “lemon” it is important to use an attorney that focuses on consumer law – lemon law cases as their primary practice. This attorney will know all the tricks of the trade and potential pitfalls to avoid for your case so that you can get the best settlement.
AVVO is a great tool /web site to use before you select a lawyer. You will be able to see what past clients have said about the lawyer you may hire and what types of results that lawyer has been able to achieve. You will also be able to see whether a lawyer has ever been disciplined by their state bar at any time.
Whether past clients were happy with the way that lawyer handled their case is an important indicator as to how your potential case will be handled by the lawyer. Your case may be resolved rather quickly or may take several months to reach a resolution. Therefore it is important to choose a lawyer that other clients were happy with, as you will want a lawyer that handles your case diligently. A lawyer that timely returns your phone calls or emails, doesn’t make you feel like your just a # and has a track record of fighting the more difficult cases.
If you purchased a new or used vehicle in Pennsylvania or New Jersey and ended up with a lemon vehicle, call us for a free consultation at 1-888-830-1474. My firm will be able to quickly determine whether you are entitled to a new car, full refund or a cash settlement under the Pennsylvania Lemon Law, New Jersey Lemon Law or other consumer protection statutes. Both Rich Scholer and I have been helping consumers for a combined decade. We will work to either get your case settled quickly or take the case to Court to a get you a great result.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Q : What type of car do I drive?
A: It doesn’t matter …
One of the most common questions I get as a consumer lawyer from clients and friends is – “Tim – what do you drive??”
The answer is…… it doesn’t matter. All manufacturers produce a certain amount of lemon/defective/problematic vehicles a year. No one has figured out how to build the perfect car.
It is always a good idea to research your potential new vehicle before you buy. Make use of independent sources such as Consumer Reports and Kelly Blue Book. But again, all manufacturers have a certain % of cars that come off the line with problems that are dangerous or time consuming to repair. Especially as technology becomes more present in cars, more things can go wrong and the issues can be complicated to rectify. That is why lemon laws and other consumer protection laws were created, a consumer should not have to keep a new car that has problems which effect the vehicle’s use, value or safety.
If you are one of the unfortunate people to end up with a lemon vehicle, call us for a free consultation. My firm will be able to quickly determine whether you are entitled to a new car, full refund or a cash settlement under the Pennsylvania Lemon Law, New Jersey Lemon Law or other consumer protection statutes. The firm is able to represent consumers for free because consumer protection laws, such as the lemon law, make the losing party pay for your legal fees and costs. Both Rich Scholer and I have been helping consumers for a combined decade. We will work to either get your case settled quickly or take the case to Court to a get you a great result.
Call 1-888-830-1474 if you have a new or used vehicle that has had problems while under warranty that the dealer can’t repair.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
A lot of car manufacturers out there are offering huge warranties on their new cars. 5 years – 50,000 miles or 10 year – 100,000 bumper-to-bumper warranties. Consumers are lured to these new vehicles with big warranties with the belief that these warranties implicitly state that the car will be a great car.
What can go wrong?? ….. The car is covered for such a long period of time…. Unfortunately the warranty is not a guarantee that nothing will go wrong, the warranty is in place if something does go wrong, the dealership will repair the issue free of charge. In the case of these new vehicles with huge warranties, the trend seems to be what can go wrong will go wrong.
That is why consumer protection laws are in place, you should not be required to keep bringing your car back into the dealer for unlimited amount of repairs just because the car is covered under a big warranty. Consumer protection laws state that a manufacturer, via their authorized repair dealerships, must repair your vehicle in a reasonable time. If they do not – you may be entitled to a new car, full refund or cash settlement.
If you purchased a new or used vehicle in Pennsylvania or New Jersey and ended up with a lemon vehicle, call us for a free consultation. My firm will be able to quickly determine whether you are entitled to a new car, full refund or a cash settlement under the Pennsylvania Lemon Law, New Jersey Lemon Law or other consumer protection statutes. The firm is able to represent consumers for free because consumer protection laws, such as the lemon law, make the losing party pay for your legal fees and costs. Both Rich Scholer and I have been helping consumers for a combined decade. We will work to either get your case settled quickly or take the case to Court to a get you a great result. Call 1-888-830-1474 if you have a new or used vehicle that has had problems while under warranty that the dealer can’t repair.
Lemon Law News
Timothy J. Abeel & Associates, P.C. represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, cities include but are not limited to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, Newark, and Trenton.