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Lemon Law Infomation

Maryland Lemon Law
Sections 14-1501 - 12-1504 of the Commercial Law Articles

§ 14-1501. (a) In this subtitle the following words have the meanings indicated.

(b) "Consumer" means:

(1) The purchaser, other than for purposes of resale, of a new motor vehicle; (2) Any person to whom a new motor vehicle is transferred during the duration of the warranty applicable to such motor vehicle; or (3) Any other person who is entitled to enforce the obligations of the warranty.

(c)

(1) "Motor vehicle" means a vehicle that is registered in this State as a:

(i) Class A (passenger) vehicle; (ii) Class D (motorcycle) vehicle; (iii) Class E (truck) vehicle with a 3/4 ton or less manufacturer's rated capacity; or (iv) Class M (multipurpose) vehicle.

(2) "Motor vehicle" does not include a motor home. For the purpose of administering this subtitle, the Motor Vehicle Administration shall promulgate a regulation defining a motor home.

(d) "Dealer" has the meaning provided in § 15-101(b) of the Transportation Article.

(e) "Manufacturer, factory branch, or distributor" means a person, partnership, association, corporation, or entity engaged in the business of manufacturing or assembling motor vehicles or of distributing motor vehicles to motor vehicle dealers as defined in § 15-201(b), (c), and (e) of the Transportation Article.

(f) "Warranty" means warranties as defined in §§ 2-312, 2-313, 2-314, and 2-315 of this article.

(g)

(1) "Manufacturer's warranty period" means the earlier of:

(i) The period of the motor vehicle's first 15,000 miles of operation; or (ii) 15 months following the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer.

(2) This subsection does not extend any manufacturer's express warranty.

§ 14-1502.

(a) If the manufacturer's warranty period is to include those miles of operation when the new motor vehicle is in the possession of any person other than the consumer, the manufacturer shall state that fact in 12 point bold face type in the manufacturer's written warranty.

(b)

(1) If a new motor vehicle does not conform to all applicable warranties during the warranty period, the consumer shall, during such period, report the nonconformity, defect, or condition by giving written notice to the manufacturer or factory branch by certified mail, return receipt requested. Notice of this procedure shall be conspicuously disclosed to the consumer in writing at the time of sale or delivery of the motor vehicle. (2) The consumer shall provide an opportunity for the manufacturer or factory branch, or its agent to cure the nonconformity, defect, or condition. (3) The manufacturer or factory branch, its agent, or its authorized dealer shall correct the nonconformity, defect, or condition at no charge to the consumer, even if repairs are made after the expiration of the warranty period. The corrections shall be completed within 30 days of the manufacturer's receipt of the consumer's notification of the nonconformity, defect, or condition.

(c)

(1) If, during the warranty period, the manufacturer or factory branch, its agent, or its authorized dealer is unable to repair or correct any defect or condition that substantially impairs the use and market value of the motor vehicle to the consumer after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer or factory branch, at the option of the consumer, shall:

(i) Replace the motor vehicle with a comparable motor vehicle acceptable to the consumer; or (ii) Accept return of the motor vehicle from the consumer and refund to the consumer the full purchase price including all license fees, registration fees, and any similar governmental charges, less:

1. A reasonable allowance for the consumer's use of the vehicle not to exceed 15 percent of the purchase price; and 2. A reasonable allowance for damage not attributable to normal wear but not to include damage resulting from a nonconformity, defect, or condition.

(2) The manufacturer or factory branch shall make refunds under this section to the consumer and lienholder, if any, as their interests appear on the records of ownership maintained by the Motor Vehicle Administration. (3) It is an affirmative defense to any claim under this section that the nonconformity, defect, or condition:

(i) Does not substantially impair the use and market value of the motor vehicle; or (ii) Is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modifications or alterations of the motor vehicle.

(d) It shall be presumed that a reasonable number of attempts have been undertaken to conform a motor vehicle to the applicable warranties if:

(1) The same nonconformity, defect, or condition has been subject to repair 4 or more times by the manufacturer or factory branch, or its agents or authorized dealers, within the warranty period but such nonconformity, defect, or condition continues to exist; (2) The vehicle is out of service by reason of repair of 1 or more nonconformities, defects, or conditions for a cumulative total of 30 or more days during the warranty period; or (3) A nonconformity, defect, or condition resulting in failure of the braking or steering system has been subject to the same repair at least once within the warranty period, and the manufacturer has been notified and given the opportunity to cure the defect, and the repair does not bring the vehicle into compliance with the motor vehicle safety inspection laws of the State.

(e) The term of any warranty, the warranty period, and the 30 day out of service period shall be extended by any time during which repair services are not available to the consumer by reason of war, invasion, strike, or fire, flood, or other natural disaster.

(f)

(1)

(i) It shall be the duty of a dealer to notify the manufacturer of the existence of a nonconformity, defect, or condition within 7 days when the motor vehicle is delivered to the same dealer for a fourth time for repair of the same nonconformity or when the vehicle is out of service by reason of repair of one or more nonconformities, defects, or conditions for a cumulative total of 20 days. (ii) The notification shall be sent by certified mail and a copy of the notification shall be sent to the Motor Vehicle Administration; however, failure of the dealer to give the required notice required under this subsection shall not affect the consumer's right under this subtitle.

(2) If a motor vehicle is returned to a manufacturer or factory branch either under this subtitle, or by judgment, decree, arbitration award, or by voluntary agreement, the manufacturer or factory branch shall notify the Motor Vehicle Administration in writing within 15 days of the fact that the vehicle was returned. (1)

(i) If a motor vehicle that is returned to the manufacturer under either this subtitle or by judgment, decree, arbitration award, settlement agreement, or by voluntary agreement in this or any other state and is then transferred to a dealer in Maryland, the manufacturer shall disclose this information to the dealer. (ii) The manufacturer's disclosure under this paragraph shall be in writing on a separate piece of paper in 10 point all capital type and shall state in a clear and conspicuous manner:

1. That the motor vehicle was returned to the manufacturer or factory branch; 2. The nature of the defect, if any, that resulted in the return; and 3. The condition of the motor vehicle at the time that it is transferred to the dealer.

(2)

(i) If the returned vehicle is then made available for resale, the seller shall provide a copy of the manufacturer's disclosure form to the consumer prior to sale. (ii) If the returned vehicle is sold, the seller shall send a copy of the manufacturer's disclosure form, signed by the consumer, to the Administration.

(h) This section does not limit the rights or remedies that are otherwise available to a consumer under any other law, including any implied warranties. (1) If a manufacturer or factory branch has established an informal dispute settlement procedure which complies in all respects with the provisions of Title 16, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 703, as amended, a consumer may resort to that procedure before subsection (c) of this section applies. (2) A consumer who has resorted to an informal dispute settlement procedure may not be precluded from seeking the rights or remedies available by law.

(j)

(1) Any agreement entered into by a consumer for the purchase of a new motor vehicle that waives, limits, or disclaims the rights set forth in this section shall be void. (2) The rights available to a consumer under this section shall inure to a subsequent transferee of a new motor vehicle for the duration of the applicable warranties.

(k) Any action brought under this section shall be commenced within 3 years of the date of original delivery of the motor vehicle to the consumer.

(l)

(1) A court may award reasonable attorney's fees to a prevailing plaintiff under this section. (2) If it appears to the satisfaction of the court that an action is brought in bad faith or is of a frivolous nature, the court may order the offending party to pay to the other party reasonable attorney's fees.

(m) This subtitle does not apply to a fleet purchase of five or more motor vehicles.

§ 14-1502.1. (1) Develop a notice that describes the rights provided to consumers under this subtitle; (2) Make the notice available to all dealers that sell new motor vehicles in the State; and (3) Adopt regulations as necessary to implement the provisions of this section.

(b) The notice shall:

(1) Be written in simple and readable plain language; and (2) Contain sufficient detail to fully inform consumers about the rights and remedies available under this subtitle and the procedures to follow to enforce those rights and remedies. § 14-1503.

(a)

(1) If a dealer, manufacturer, factory branch, or distributor is required under a judgment, decree, arbitration award, or settlement agreement to accept, or by voluntary agreement accepts, return of a motor vehicle from a consumer, the consumer shall be entitled to recover from the Motor Vehicle Administration the excise taxes originally paid by the consumer, subject to subsection (b) of this section. (2)

(i) If a dealer, manufacturer, factory branch, or distributor replaces a motor vehicle with a comparable motor vehicle under § 14-1502(c)(1)(i) of this subtitle, the Motor Vehicle Administration shall allow a credit against the excise tax imposed for the replacement vehicle in the amount of the excise taxes originally paid by the consumer for the returned vehicle, subject to subsection (b) of this section. (ii)

1. If the excise tax on the replacement vehicle exceeds the credit allowed under subparagraph (i) of this paragraph, the dealer shall collect only that portion of excise tax due; or 2. If the excise tax on the vehicle being replaced exceeds the excise tax on the replacement vehicle, the consumer shall be entitled to recover from the Motor Vehicle Administration the excess of the excise tax paid.

(b) The excise taxes that a consumer is entitled to recover under this section shall be calculated based on the amount of the purchase price or any portion of the purchase price of the motor vehicle that the dealer, manufacturer, factory branch, or distributor refunds to the consumer.

(c) A dealer, manufacturer, factory branch, or distributor who is required under a judgment, decree, arbitration award, or settlement agreement to accept, or who accepts, by voluntary agreement, return of a motor vehicle shall notify the consumer in writing that the consumer is entitled to recover the excise taxes from the Motor Vehicle Administration.

§ 14-1504.

(a) A violation of this subtitle shall be an unfair and deceptive trade practice under Title 13 of the Commercial Law Article.

(b) In addition to any other remedies that may be available under this subtitle, if a manufacturer, factory branch, or distributor is found to have acted in bad faith, the court may award the consumer damages of up to $10,000.

MARYLAND'S LEMON LAW

A Guide to Consumer Rights and Remedies When a New Car Turns Out to be Defective

Prepared by the Department of Legislative Reference Annapolis, Maryland

In 1984 the General Assembly enacted the Maryland Automotive Warranty Enforcement Act more commonly known as "The Lemon Law." This law provides consumers with a number of rights and remedies to aid in the enforcement of manufacturer's warranties on new cars.

Every new automobile sold by a dealership in the United States comes with a manufacturer's warranty. The warranty may be of little comfort when the car dealer or manufacturer does not satisfy the guarantees made in the warranty or when the new car must be returned for repairs again and again. If this happens, the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) is the first place to turn for help.

The MVA licenses car dealers and may be helpful in resolving a warranty complaint. If the MVA is unable to resolve the dispute, several private legal remedies are available. Maryland's Lemon Law is intended to aid in enforcing a new car warranty.

Applicability of the Lemon Law The Lemon Law applies to the sale of all new cars, small trucks, and multipurpose vehicles in Maryland. It does not apply to motor homes.

The benefits of the Lemon Law are available not only if the vehicle that was purchased from a dealer was new, but also if it was transferred to another person during the vehicle's warranty period. That warranty period is 15 months after the car was originally delivered by the dealer or 15,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Under the law, a car is considered a lemon if, during the 15-month/15,000 mile warranty period, a defect or condition that substantially impairs the use and market value of the car cannot be repaired after a reasonable number of attempts. A "reasonable number of attempts" means once, in the case of the braking or steering system, and four times in the case of other defects.

Alternatively, the "reasonable number of attempts" requirement is satisfied if the car is out of service for repair of defects for a total of 30 or more days during the warranty period.

A car is not considered a lemon, however, if the defect is the result of abuse, neglect, or unauthorized modifications of the car.

How the Process Works

The Lemon Law imposes certain requirements on the consumer, the car dealer, and the manufacturer. If the dealer and manufacturer do not comply with these requirements, they may be subject to several different penalties under the law. If the consumer does not fulfill the consumer's obligations, the right to take advantage of the Lemon Law may be lost.

If there is a problem with a new car during the warranty period, the dealer or the manufacturer must be given an opportunity to repair the defect. Also, the consumer must send a written notice of the defect to the manufacturer by certified mail, return receipt requested, during the warranty period. The manufacturer or dealer must correct the defect, at no charge to the consumer, within 30 days after receiving notice of the defect. If the car is returned to the dealer four times to repair the same defect or if it is out of service for more than a total of 20 days because of defects, the dealer must notify the manufacturer of the defect and send a copy of the notice to the Motor Vehicle Administration. However, failure of the dealer to give the required notice does not affect the consumer's rights under the Lemon Law. If the consumer is not satisfied with the way the dealer or manufacturer is handling the new car's defect or if the consumer is unable to reach an agreement as to an appropriate remedy, the consumer may submit the dispute to the manufacturer's informal arbitration procedure, if one exists. The consumer is not required to submit to arbitration, however, and even if arbitration is chosen, it is not binding on the consumer. Legal action in the courts before, during, or after an arbitration proceeding is always an option. The only limitation is that a legal action under the Lemon Law must be filed in court within three years after the date of original delivery of the vehicle to the consumer.

Remedies

If the dealer or manufacturer is unable to repair the consumer's car after a reasonable number of attempts (as described above), the manufacturer is required to do one of two things. At the consumer's option, the manufacturer must either: (1) Replace the car with another that is acceptable to the consumer; or (2) Accept return of the car and refund the full purchase price, less a reasonable allowance for the use of the vehicle.

There are other remedies available to a consumer under the Lemon Law. If the consumer cannot settle a dispute with the manufacturer out of court, the court may require the manufacturer to pay part or all of the consumer's attorney's fees if the consumer prevails in court. If the court finds that the manufacturer has acted in bad faith in failing to fulfill its obligations under the Lemon Law, the manufacturer may be ordered to pay the consumer up to $10,000, in addition to any other remedies ordered by the court. Furthermore, a violation of the Lemon Law by a car dealer or manufacturer is considered an "unfair and deceptive trade practice" and may subject the dealer or manufacturer to certain penalties under the Maryland Consumer Protection Act.

In addition to the Lemon Law, other areas of the law may help the consumer in a dispute concerning a new car. For example, under the Maryland Uniform Commercial Code, the consumer may be entitled to the benefit of certain implied warranties which are not contained in a written warranty.

Is it a Lemon?

Maryland's lemon law applies only to cars, light trucks and motorcycles that:

1. Are registered in Maryland, and

2. Have been driven less than 15,000 miles and been owned less than 15 months. (Even if you are not the original owner, the Lemon Law might apply to your vehicle if the original owner purchased it less than 15 months ago.)

The law provides that a dealer or manufacturer must correct a defect within 30 days after the consumer writes to the manufacturer by certified mail. If the manufacturer or dealer is unable to do so, the consumer is entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle under the Lemon Law if the car has:

A brake or steering failure that was not corrected after the first repair attempt, and that causes the vehicle to fail Maryland's safety inspection; or Any one problem that substantially impairs the use and market value of the vehicle that was not corrected in four repair attempts; or Any number of problems that substantially impair the use and market value of the vehicle that have caused it to be out of service for a cumulative total of 30 or more days. If you suspect your car is a lemon -- for example, if the dealer has tried once or twice unsuccessfully to repair the problem and you believe the problem substantially impairs the use and market value of the vehicle -- you should write to the manufacturer immediately. You do not need to wait until the dealer has made the four repair attempts, or until the car has been out of service for 30 days.

Maryland's Lemon Law

Protecting You from Getting Stuck with a Lemon Maryland's Lemon Law: The Automobile Warranty Enforcement Law In Maryland, the Lemon Law protects you from getting "stuck" if the new vehicle you buy turns out to be a problem. When a new car, light duty truck, motorcycle or multi-purpose vehicle has been "repaired" for the same problem four or more times, or the vehicle has been out of service for at least 30 days for repairs, under the warranty, you are entitled to a new vehicle or a refund for the vehicle you have bought. If the problem involves the steering or braking system, only one attempt to repair it is required.

How to Pursue a Claim

Your owner's manual will have the specifics on how to pursue a claim if your vehicle meets all the requirements of a real lemon! Your new vehicle only qualifies under this process if the problem you have with it occurs during the first 15 months or 15,000 miles. Before the time or mileage limit is up, you must report the problem in writing to the manufacturer by certified mail. Request a return receipt so you have a record of the notification. After you notify the manufacturer of your problem, you must give them the opportunity to fix it.

What Happens Next?

The manufacturer must fix your vehicle's problem, or replace it. The manufacturer can also refund you the full purchase price for the vehicle, less a reasonable allowance for your use of the vehicle. If you are refunded for your vehicle, the manufacturer must notify you in writing that you are entitled to the recovery of the excise taxes you paid on the vehicle. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration will then be able to refund your excise taxes, calculated on the amount of the refund you received.

There are essentially three sets of laws that apply to defective vehicles and products in the United States.

1. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a Federal Law that protects the buyer of any product that costs more than $25 and comes with an express written warranty. Here is a summary of the Act in layman's language, and here is a more detailed explanation of the Act from the FTC.

Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

US Code - Title 15, Chapter 50, Sections 2301-2312

Section 2301. Definitions For the purposes of this chapter

(1) The term "consumer product" means any tangible personal property which is distributed in commerce and which is normally used for personal, family, or household purposes (including any such property intended to be attached to or installed in any real property without regard to whether it is so attached or installed). (2) The term "Commission" means the Federal Trade Commission.

(3) The term "consumer" means a buyer (other than for purposes of resale) of any consumer product, any person to whom such product is transferred during the duration of an implied or written warranty (or service contract) applicable to the product, and any other person who is entitled by the terms of such warranty (or service contract) or under applicable State law to enforce against the warrantor (or service contractor) the obligations of the warranty (or service contract).

(4) The term "supplier" means any person engaged in the business of making a consumer product directly or indirectly available to consumers.

(5) The term "warrantor" means any supplier or other person who gives or offers to give a written warranty or who is or may be obligated under an implied warranty.

(6) The term "written warranty" means -

(A) any written affirmation of fact or written promise made in connection with the sale of a consumer product by a supplier to a buyer which relates to the nature of the material or workmanship and affirms or promises that such material or workmanship is defect free or will meet a specified level of performance over a specified period of time, or (B) any undertaking in writing in connection with the sale by a supplier of a consumer product to refund, repair, replace, or take other remedial action with respect to such product in the event that such product fails to meet the specifications set forth in the undertaking, which written affirmation, promise, or undertaking becomes part of the basis of the bargain between a supplier and a buyer for purposes other than resale of such product.

(7) The term "implied warranty" means an implied warranty arising under State law (as modified by sections 2308 and 2304(a) of this title) in connection with the sale by a supplier of a consumer product.

(8) The term "service contract" means a contract in writing to perform, over a fixed period of time or for a specified duration, services relating to the maintenance or repair (or both) of a consumer product.

(9) The term "reasonable and necessary maintenance" consists of those operations

(A) which the consumer reasonably can be expected to perform or have performed and
(B) which are necessary to keep any consumer product performing its intended function and operating at a reasonable level of performance.

(10) The term "remedy" means whichever of the following actions the warrantor elects:
(A) repair,
(B) replacement, or
(C) refund;
except that the warrantor may not elect refund unless (i) the warrantor is unable to provide replacement and repair is not commercially practicable or cannot be timely made, or (ii) the consumer is willing to accept such refund.

(11) The term ''replacement'' means furnishing a new consumer product which is identical or reasonably equivalent to the warranted consumer product.

(12) The term "refund" means refunding the actual purchase price (less reasonable depreciation based on actual use where permitted by rules of the Commission).

(13) The term "distributed in commerce" means sold in commerce, introduced or delivered for introduction into commerce, or held for sale or distribution after introduction into commerce.

(14) The term "commerce" means trade, traffic, commerce, or transportation -

(A) between a place in a State and any place outside thereof,
or
(B) which affects trade, traffic, commerce, or transportation described in subparagraph (A). (15) The term "State" means a State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Canal Zone, or American Samoa. The term "State law" includes a law of the United States applicable only to the District of Columbia or only to a territory or possession of the United States; and the term "Federal law'" excludes any State law.

Section 2302. Rules governing contents of warranties

(a) Full and conspicuous disclosure of terms and conditions; additional requirements for contents In order to improve the adequacy of information available to consumers, prevent deception, and improve competition in the marketing of consumer products, any warrantor warranting a consumer product to a consumer by means of a written warranty shall, to the extent required by rules of the Commission, fully and conspicuously disclose in simple and readily understood language the terms and conditions of such warranty. Such rules may require inclusion in the written warranty of any of the following items among others:

(1) The clear identification of the names and addresses of the warrantors.
(2) The identity of the party or parties to whom the warranty is extended.
(3) The products or parts covered.
(4) A statement of what the warrantor will do in the event of a defect, malfunction, or failure to conform with such written warranty - at whose expense - and for what period of time.
(5) A statement of what the consumer must do and expenses he must bear.
(6) Exceptions and exclusions from the terms of the warranty.
(7) The step-by-step procedure which the consumer should take in order to obtain performance of any obligation under the warranty, including the identification of any person or class of persons authorized to perform the obligations set forth in the warranty.
(8) Information respecting the availability of any informal dispute settlement procedure offered by the warrantor and a recital, where the warranty so provides, that the purchaser may be required to resort to such procedure before pursuing any legal remedies in the courts.
(9) A brief, general description of the legal remedies available to the consumer.
(10) The time at which the warrantor will perform any obligations under the warranty.
(11) The period of time within which, after notice of a defect, malfunction, or failure to conform with the warranty, the warrantor will perform any obligations under the warranty.
(12) The characteristics or properties of the products, or parts thereof, that are not covered by the warranty.
(13) The elements of the warranty in words or phrases which would not mislead a reasonable, average consumer as to the nature or scope of the warranty.
(b) Availability of terms to consumer; manner and form for presentation and display of information; duration; extension of period for written warranty or service contract

(1)
(A) The Commission shall prescribe rules requiring that the terms of any written warranty on a consumer product be made available to the consumer (or prospective consumer) prior to the sale of the product to him.
(B) The Commission may prescribe rules for determining the manner and form in which information with respect to any written warranty of a consumer product shall be clearly and conspicuously presented or displayed so as not to mislead the reasonable, average consumer, when such information is contained in advertising, labeling, point-of-sale material, or other representations in writing.

(2) Nothing in this chapter (other than paragraph (3) of this subsection) shall be deemed to authorize the Commission to prescribe the duration of written warranties given or to require that a consumer product or any of its components be warranted.

(3) The Commission may prescribe rules for extending the period of time a written warranty or service contract is in effect to correspond with any period of time in excess of a reasonable period (not less than 10 days) during which the consumer is deprived of the use of such consumer product by reason of failure of the product to conform with the written warranty or by reason of the failure of the warrantor (or service contractor) to carry out such warranty (or service contract) within the period specified in the warranty (or service contract).

(c) Prohibition on conditions for written or implied warranty; waiver by Commission No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer's using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name; except that the prohibition of this subsection may be waived by the Commission if -

(1) the warrantor satisfies the Commission that the warranted product will function properly only if the article or service so identified is used in connection with the warranted product, and
(2) the Commission finds that such a waiver is in the public interest. The Commission shall identify in the Federal Register, and permit public comment on, all applications for waiver of the prohibition of this subsection, and shall publish in the Federal Register its disposition of any such application, including the reasons therefor.

(d) Incorporation by reference of detailed substantive warranty provisions The Commission may by rule devise detailed substantive warranty provisions which warrantors may incorporate by reference in their warranties.

(e) Applicability to consumer products costing more than $5 The provisions of this section apply only to warranties which pertain to consumer products actually costing the consumer more than $5.

Section 2303. Designation of written warranties

(a) Full (statement of duration) or limited warranty Any warrantor warranting a consumer product by means of a written warranty shall clearly and conspicuously designate such warranty in the following manner, unless exempted from doing so by the Commission pursuant to subsection (c) of this section:

(1) If the written warranty meets the Federal minimum standards for warranty set forth in section 2304 of this title, then it shall be conspicuously designated a ''full (statement of duration) warranty''.
(2) If the written warranty does not meet the Federal minimum standards for warranty set forth in section 2304 of this title, then it shall be conspicuously designated a "limited warranty".

(b) Applicability of requirements, standards, etc., to representations or statements of customer satisfaction This section and sections 2302 and 2304 of this title shall not apply to statements or representations which are similar to expressions of general policy concerning customer satisfaction and which are not subject to any specific limitations.

(c) Exemptions by Commission In addition to exercising the authority pertaining to disclosure granted in section 2302 of this title, the Commission may by rule determine when a written warranty does not have to be designated either ''full (statement of duration)'' or ''limited'' in accordance with this section.

(d) Applicability to consumer products costing more than $10 and not designated as full warranties The provisions of subsections (a) and (c) of this section apply only to warranties which pertain to consumer products actually costing the consumer more than $10 and which are not designated "full (statement of duration) warranties".

Section 2304. Federal minimum standards for warranties

(a) Remedies under written warranty; duration of implied warranty; exclusion or limitation on consequential damages for breach of written or implied warranty; election of refund or replacement. In order for a warrantor warranting a consumer product by means of a written warranty to meet the Federal minimum standards for warranty -

(1) such warrantor must as a minimum remedy such consumer product within a reasonable time and without charge, in the case of a defect, malfunction, or failure to conform with such written warranty;
(2) notwithstanding section 2308(b) of this title, such warrantor may not impose any limitation on the duration of any implied warranty on the product;
(3) such warrantor may not exclude or limit consequential damages for breach of any written or implied warranty on such product, unless such exclusion or limitation conspicuously appears on the face of the warranty; and
(4) if the product (or a component part thereof) contains a defect or malfunction after a reasonable number of attempts by the warrantor to remedy defects or malfunctions in such product, such warrantor must permit the consumer to elect either a refund for, or replacement without charge of, such product or part (as the case may be). The Commission may by rule specify for purposes of this paragraph, what constitutes a reasonable number of attempts to remedy particular kinds of defects or malfunctions under different circumstances. If the warrantor replaces a component part of a consumer product, such replacement shall include installing the part in the product without charge.

(b) Duties and conditions imposed on consumer by warrantor

(1) In fulfilling the duties under subsection (a) of this section respecting a written warranty, the warrantor shall not impose any duty other than notification upon any consumer as a condition of securing remedy of any consumer product which malfunctions, is defective, or does not conform to the written warranty, unless the warrantor has demonstrated in a rulemaking proceeding, or can demonstrate in an administrative or judicial enforcement proceeding (including private enforcement), or in an informal dispute settlement proceeding, that such a duty is reasonable.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a warrantor may require, as a condition to replacement of, or refund for, any consumer product under subsection (a) of this section, that such consumer product shall be made available to the warrantor free and clear of liens and other encumbrances, except as otherwise provided by rule or order of the Commission in cases in which such a requirement would not be practicable.

(3) The Commission may, by rule define in detail the duties set forth in subsection (a) of this section and the applicability of such duties to warrantors of different categories of consumer products with ''full (statement of duration)'' warranties.

(4) The duties under subsection (a) of this section extend from the warrantor to each person who is a consumer with respect to the consumer product.

(c) Waiver of standards The performance of the duties under subsection (a) of this section shall not be required of the warrantor if he can show that the defect, malfunction, or failure of any warranted consumer product to conform with a written warranty, was caused by damage (not resulting from defect or malfunction) while in the possession of the consumer, or unreasonable use (including failure to provide reasonable and necessary maintenance).

(d) Remedy without charge For purposes of this section and of section 2302(c) of this title, the term ''without charge'' means that the warrantor may not assess the consumer for any costs the warrantor or his representatives incur in connection with the required remedy of a warranted consumer product. An obligation under subsection (a)(1)(A) of this section to remedy without charge does not necessarily require the warrantor to compensate the consumer for incidental expenses; however, if any incidental expenses are incurred because the remedy is not made within a reasonable time or because the warrantor imposed an unreasonable duty upon the consumer as a condition of securing remedy, then the consumer shall be entitled to recover reasonable incidental expenses which are so incurred in any action against the warrantor.

(e) Incorporation of standards to products designated with full warranty for purposes of judicial actions If a supplier designates a warranty applicable to a consumer product as a ''full (statement of duration)'' warranty, then the warranty on such product shall, for purposes of any action under section 2310(d) of this title or under any State law, be deemed to incorporate at least the minimum requirements of this section and rules prescribed under this section.

Section 2305. Full and limited warranting of a consumer product

Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit the selling of a consumer product which has both full and limited warranties if such warranties are clearly and conspicuously differentiated.

Section 2306. Service contracts; rules for full, clear and conspicuous disclosure of terms and conditions; addition to or in lieu of written warranty

(a) The Commission may prescribe by rule the manner and form in which the terms and conditions of service contracts shall be fully, clearly, and conspicuously disclosed.

(b) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent a supplier or warrantor from entering into a service contract with the consumer in addition to or in lieu of a written warranty if such contract fully, clearly, and conspicuously discloses its terms and conditions in simple and readily understood language.

Section 2307. Designation of representatives by warrantor to perform duties under written or implied warranty

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent any warrantor from designating representatives to perform duties under the written or implied warranty: Provided, That such warrantor shall make reasonable arrangements for compensation of such designated representatives, but no such designation shall relieve the warrantor of his direct responsibilities to the consumer or make the representative a co-warrantor.

Section 2308. Implied warranties

(a) Restrictions on disclaimers or modifications No supplier may disclaim or modify (except as provided in subsection (b) of this section) any implied warranty to a consumer with respect to such consumer product if

(1) such supplier makes any written warranty to the consumer with respect to such consumer Product, or
(2) at the time of sale, or within 90 days thereafter, such supplier enters into a service contract with the consumer which applies to such consumer product.

(b) Limitation on duration
For purposes of this chapter (other than section 2304(a)(2) of this title), implied warranties may be limited in duration to the duration of a written warranty of reasonable duration, if such limitation is conscionable and is set forth in clear and unmistakable language and prominently displayed on the face of the warranty.

(c) Effectiveness of disclaimers, modifications, or limitations A disclaimer, modification, or limitation made in violation of this section shall be ineffective for purposes of this chapter and State law.

Section 2309. Procedures applicable to promulgation of rules by Commission

(a) Oral presentation
Any rule prescribed under this chapter shall be prescribed in accordance with section 553 of title 5; except that the Commission shall give interested persons an opportunity for oral presentations of data, views, and arguments, in addition to written submissions. A transcript shall be kept of any oral presentation. Any such rule shall be subject to judicial review under section 57a(e) of this title in the same manner as rules prescribed under section 57a(a)(1)(B) of this title, except that section 57a(e)(3)(B) of this title shall not apply.

(b) Warranties and warranty practices involved in sale of used motor vehicles The Commission shall initiate within one year after January 4, 1975, a rulemaking proceeding dealing with warranties and warranty practices in connection with the sale of used motor vehicles; and, to the extent necessary to supplement the protections offered the consumer by this chapter, shall prescribe rules dealing with such warranties and practices. In prescribing rules under this subsection, the Commission may exercise any authority it may have under this chapter, or other law, and in addition it may require disclosure that a used motor vehicle is sold without any warranty and specify the form and content of such disclosure.

Section 2310. Remedies in consumer disputes

(a) Informal dispute settlement procedures; establishment; rules setting forth minimum requirements; effect of compliance by warrantor; review of informal procedures or implementation by Commission; application to existing informal procedures

(1) Congress hereby declares it to be its policy to encourage warrantors to establish procedures whereby consumer disputes are fairly and expeditiously settled through informal dispute settlement mechanisms.
(2) The Commission shall prescribe rules setting forth minimum requirements for any informal dispute settlement procedure which is incorporated into the terms of a written warranty to which any provision of this chapter applies. Such rules shall provide for participation in such procedure by independent or governmental entities.
(3) One or more warrantors may establish an informal dispute settlement procedure which meets the requirements of the Commission's rules under paragraph (2). If -

(A) a warrantor establishes such a procedure,

(B) such procedure, and its implementation, meets the requirements of such rules, and

(C) he incorporates in a written warranty a requirement that the consumer resort to such procedure before pursuing any legal remedy under this section respecting such warranty, then

(i) the consumer may not commence a civil action (other than a class action) under subsection (d) of this section unless he initially resorts to such procedure; and
(ii) a class of consumers may not proceed in a class action under subsection (d) of this section except to the extent the court determines necessary to establish the representative capacity of the named plaintiffs, unless the named plaintiffs (upon notifying the defendant that they are named plaintiffs in a class action with respect to a warranty obligation) initially resort to such procedure. In the case of such a class action which is brought in a district court of the United States, the representative capacity of the named plaintiffs shall be established in the application of rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In any civil action arising out of a warranty obligation and relating to a matter considered in such a procedure, any decision in such procedure shall be admissible in evidence.

(4) The Commission on its own initiative may, or upon written complaint filed by any interested person shall, review the bona fide operation of any dispute settlement procedure resort to which is stated in a written warranty to be a prerequisite to pursuing a legal remedy under this section.
If the Commission finds that such procedure or its implementation fails to comply with the requirements of the rules under paragraph (2), the Commission may take appropriate remedial action under any authority it may have under this chapter or any other provision of law.

(5) Until rules under paragraph (2) take effect, this subsection shall not affect the validity of any informal dispute settlement procedure respecting consumer warranties, but in any action under subsection (d) of this section, the court may invalidate any such procedure if it finds that such procedure is unfair.

(b) Prohibited acts It shall be a violation of section 45(a)(1) of this title for any person to fail to comply with any requirement imposed on such person by this chapter (or a rule thereunder) or to violate any prohibition contained in this chapter (or a rule thereunder).

(c) Injunction proceedings by Attorney General or Commission for deceptive warranty, noncompliance with requirements, or violating prohibitions; procedures; definitions

(1) The district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction of any action brought by the Attorney General (in his capacity as such), or by the Commission by any of its attorneys designated by it for such purpose, to restrain

(A) any warrantor from making a deceptive warranty with respect to a consumer product, or

(B) any person from failing to comply with any requirement imposed on such person by or pursuant to this chapter or from violating any prohibition contained in this chapter. Upon proper showing that, weighing the equities and considering the Commission's or Attorney General's likelihood of ultimate success, such action would be in the public interest and after notice to the defendant, a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction may be granted without bond. In the case of an action brought by the Commission, if a complaint under section 45 of this title is not filed within such period (not exceeding 10 days) as may be specified by the court after the issuance of the temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction, the order or injunction shall be dissolved by the court and be of no further force and effect. Any suit shall be brought in the district in which such person resides or transacts business. Whenever it appears to the court that the ends of justice require that other persons should be parties in the action, the court may cause them to be summoned whether or not they reside in the district in which the court is held, and to that end process may be served in any district.

(2) For the purposes of this subsection, the term ''deceptive warranty'' means

(A) a written warranty which (i) contains an affirmation, promise, description, or representation which is either false or fraudulent, or which, in light of all of the circumstances, would mislead a reasonable individual exercising due care; or (ii) fails to contain information which is necessary in light of all of the circumstances, to make the warranty not misleading to a reasonable individual exercising due care; or

(B) a written warranty created by the use of such terms as ''guaranty'' or ''warranty'', if the terms and conditions of such warranty so limit its scope and application as to deceive a reasonable individual.

(d) Civil action by consumer for damages, etc.; jurisdiction; recovery of costs and expenses; cognizable claims

(1) Subject to subsections (a)(3) and (e) of this section, a consumer who is damaged by the failure of a supplier, warrantor, or service contractor to comply with any obligation under this chapter, or under a written warranty, implied warranty, or service contract, may bring suit for damages and other legal and equitable relief -

(A) in any court of competent jurisdiction in any State or the District of Columbia; or

(B) in an appropriate district court of the United States, subject to paragraph (3) of this subsection.

(2) If a consumer finally prevails in any action brought under paragraph (1) of this subsection, he may be allowed by the court to recover as part of the judgment a sum equal to the aggregate amount of cost and expenses (including attorneys' fees based on actual time expended) determined by the court to have been reasonably incurred by the plaintiff for or in connection with the commencement and prosecution of such action, unless the court in its discretion shall determine that such an award of attorneys' fees would be inappropriate.

(3) No claim shall be cognizable in a suit brought under paragraph (1)(B) of this subsection -

(A) if the amount in controversy of any individual claim is less than the sum or value of $25;

(B) if the amount in controversy is less than the sum or value of $50,000 (exclusive of interests and costs) computed on the basis of all claims to be determined in this suit; or

(C) if the action is brought as a class action, and the number of named plaintiffs is less than one hundred.

(e) Class actions; conditions; procedures applicable No action (other than a class action or an action respecting a warranty to which subsection (a)(3) of this section applies) may be brought under subsection (d) of this section for failure to comply with any obligation under any written or implied warranty or service contract, and a class of consumers may not proceed in a class action under such subsection with respect to such a failure except to the extent the court determines necessary to establish the representative capacity of the named plaintiffs, unless the person obligated under the warranty or service contract is afforded a reasonable opportunity to cure such failure to comply. In the case of such a class action (other than a class action respecting a warranty to which subsection (a)(3) of this section applies) brought under subsection (d) of this section for breach of any written or implied warranty or service contract, such reasonable opportunity will be afforded by the named plaintiffs and they shall at that time notify the defendant that they are acting on behalf of the class. In the case of such a class action which is brought in a district court of the United States, the representative capacity of the named plaintiffs shall be established in the application of rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

(f) Warrantors subject to enforcement of remedies
For purposes of this section, only the warrantor actually making a written affirmation of fact, promise, or undertaking shall be deemed to have created a written warranty, and any rights arising thereunder may be enforced under this section only against such warrantor and no other person.

Section 2311. Applicability to other laws

(a) Federal Trade Commission Act and Federal Seed Act

(1) Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to repeal, invalidate, or supersede the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.) or any statute defined therein as an Antitrust Act.
(2) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to repeal, invalidate, or supersede the Federal Seed Act (7 U.S.C. 1551 et seq.) and nothing in this chapter shall apply to seed for planting.

(b) Rights, remedies, and liabilities

(1) Nothing in this chapter shall invalidate or restrict any right or remedy of any consumer under State law or any other Federal law.
(2) Nothing in this chapter (other than sections 2308 and 2304(a)(2) and (4) of this title) shall

(A) affect the liability of, or impose liability on, any person for personal injury, or (B) supersede any provision of State law regarding consequential damages for injury to the person or other injury.

(c) State warranty laws

(1) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section and in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a State requirement -

(A) which relates to labeling or disclosure with respect to written warranties or performance thereunder;

(B) which is within the scope of an applicable requirement of sections 2302, 2303, and 2304 of this title (and rules implementing such sections), and

(C) which is not identical to a requirement of section 2302, 2303, or 2304 of this title (or a rule thereunder), shall not be applicable to written warranties complying with such sections (or rules thereunder).

(2) If, upon application of an appropriate State agency, the Commission determines (pursuant to rules issued in accordance with section 2309 of this title) that any requirement of such State covering any transaction to which this chapter applies

(A) affords protection to consumers greater than the requirements of this chapter and

(B) does not unduly burden interstate commerce, then such State requirement shall be applicable (notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection) to the extent specified in such determination for so long as the State administers and enforces effectively any such greater requirement.

(d) Other Federal warranty laws This chapter (other than section 2302(c) of this title) shall be inapplicable to any written warranty the making or content of which is otherwise governed by Federal law. If only a portion of a written warranty is so governed by Federal law, the remaining portion shall be subject to this chapter.

Section 2312. Effective dates

(a) Effective date of chapter
Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, this chapter shall take effect 6 months after January 4, 1975, but shall not apply to consumer products manufactured prior to such date.

(b) Effective date of section 2302(a)
Section 2302(a) of this title shall take effect 6 months after the final publication of rules respecting such section; except that the Commission, for good cause shown, may postpone the applicability of such sections until one year after such final publication in order to permit any designated classes of suppliers to bring their written warranties into compliance with rules promulgated pursuant to this chapter.

(c) Promulgation of rules
The Commission shall promulgate rules for initial implementation of this chapter as soon as possible after January 4, 1975, but in no event later than one year after such date.

2. The Uniform Commercial Code or UCC has been adopted in all 50 states and covers contracts dealing with the sale of products.

3. Summary of State Lemon Laws here and individual State Lemon Laws begin here.

If the manufacturer or dealer cannot fix the vehicle to conform to the warranty within a "reasonable" number of repair attempts, then the manufacturer must replace the vehicle or reimburse the buyer or lessee for its purchase price, whichever the consumer prefers (less a mileage offset for the consumer's use of the vehicle prior to the first repair attempt), subject in certain cases to arbitration that the consumer may or may not accept.

The Lemon Law uses a presumption as a guideline for determining whether a "reasonable" number of repair attempts have been made on a new vehicle. In order for the buyer or lessee to use the Lemon Law presumption, all of the following must be true:

The vehicle must be one that qualifies as a "new motor vehicle" as described above.

The vehicle's problems must be covered by the manufacturer's warranty.

The problem(s) must occur within the first 18 months of delivery or 18,000 miles on the odometer, whichever occurs first.

The problem(s) must substantially reduce the use, value, or safety of the vehicle to the buyer.

The problem(s) are not caused by abuse of the vehicle.

The manufacturer has not fixed the problem(s) after four or more attempts or the vehicle's problem(s) could cause death or serious bodily injury if driven and the manufacturer or dealer has made at least two unsuccessful repairs attempts; or the vehicle has been in the shop for more than 30 days (not necessarily in a row) for repair of any problem(s) covered by its factory warranty and if the warranty or owner's manual requires you to do so, that you have notified the manufacturer about your problems. (Best done in writing.)

However, a replacement or refund may not be automatic since the manufacturer is entitled to prove that no problem exists, that a reasonable number of repair attempts have not been made, or that the problem does not substantially impair the vehicle's use, value or safety. This is predicated upon the consumer's decision to utilize the manufacturer's arbitration program, which they are not required to do unless they decide to pursue the "presumption" rule.

Note that if the manufacturer of the vehicle offers a certified arbitration program, the buyer or lessee must utilize the arbitration program only if they wish to use the "presumption" rule, which is in effect only during the first 18 months/18,000 miles of purchase/lease date. After that date (and during the entire period of the balance of the manufacturer's New Vehicle Limited Warranty period), there is no requirement that a consumer must utilize arbitration, so a consumer may directly contact a Lemon Law attorney if they wish. If the consumer wants to use a Lemon Law attorney during the first 18 months/18,000 mile of purchase/lease of the vehicle, they may also do so if they wish, if their vehicle meets the requirements of the Lemon Law.

Note: Consumers must be aware that 3 potential decisions are awarded as a result of a arbitration hearing. 1. Repurchase or replacement of vehicle; 2. Denial of request for repurchase or replacement of vehicle; 3. Repair decision "award", allowing the manufacturer another attempt to repair the vehicle. The automobile manufacturer may also try to "settle" the consumers case by offering "solutions" such as a free Service Contract, refunded payments, "next vehicle" discount coupons or other offers to avoid the arbitration (whether before or during the Arbitration). Consumers should know that arbitration is not publicly funded by any state or governmental agency, but rather by contributions made by the automobile manufacturers.

Consumers must also be aware that though the arbitrator's decision is not binding on the consumer, that any documents, audio recordings, statements by any/all parties, the consumers decision to reject a repair attempt decisions, etc., can be used by the automobile manufacturer against the consumer in a later civil court action.

How much money is my case worth?
Your case is worth either what you agree with the insurance company is its worth or the amount of a cash award granted by a judge and jury. Our Maryland auto accident lawyers will examine all of the conditions surrounding your case in order to arrive at a figure we believe the insurance company must pay for your injuries. Generally, the dollar value is dependent upon the type and extent of your injuries. Other factors influencing the dollar value of your Maryland auto accident case are the amount of medical bills, length of treatment, frequency of treatment, future medical bills, permanent disabilities and any other damage that can be documented. Our Maryland attorneys study every detail so you get the money you deserve for your injuries.

How long will it take to get a fair and reasonable settlement offer?
Maryland auto accident cases can vary in length from weeks, months, to even years in some instances. Typically, you will get paid after you have healed from your injuries and have been released by the doctor. This is the best way you can be assured of receiving full value for your injuries. Our Maryland lawyers at Hyatt Legal Services Injury Lawyers want you to get this compensation for your injuries, so we wait until treatment is completed before telling the insurance company how much your case is worth. However, we never rest. While we wait for your treatment to be completed, we gather the information that increases the value of your Maryland auto accident case. Your auto accident lawyer from our firm will constantly do everything he can to move your case forward toward settlement.

Will I have to go to court?
If the insurance company pays what you agree your case is worth, and you wish to settle for that amount, then your case will not go to court. This is what happens in most situations. However, some cases do require a formal trial proceeding. In either situation hiring a law firm with experience in handling personal injury cases, is critical. Our Maryland personal injury lawyers prepare all of their cases as if they are going to court, and this is the very reason why most of our cases get settled outside of court. We are always ready to go as far as necessary to pursue your case the right way. This will let your Maryland attorney negotiate from a position of strength, helping you get the maximum award for your injuries.

How much will you charge?
There are several ways that an Maryland auto accident lawyer charges for services. At our law firm, this is how we charge: There is no charge for your first visit or telephone call. All your questions will be answered and there is no obligation. We never charge an attorney's fee unless we obtain a recovery for you. Our fee is a percentage of your recovery. If a recovery is not made, you pay nothing for attorney's fees. We do not charge any fee for helping you settle your claim for damage to your vehicle.

Is it true that the best lawyers in law firms never handle the small cases?
At our law firm, only the best personal injury attorneys in Maryland will handle your case. We're a team. More than one person will probably work with you, but all of our employees are skilled at their jobs, from our lawyers to our receptionists. Whether you're talking with an Maryland auto accident lawyer, receptionist or case manager, you will get all the professional attention you deserve. Also, we stay personally involved in all of our cases, and we are always accessible to deal with any problems you may have.

Can't any lawyer handle any type of case?
It's true that you could hire any lawyer licensed to practice in your state, but not all lawyers have the training, expertise, and trial experience. We always represent our clients' best interests. Think of it this way; if you needed surgery, would you rather have it done by a surgeon who is a specialist or a general practitioner? Both are doctors... right? Yes, but the surgeon has the training and experience you need. The same is true for lawyers. The family lawyer who prepared your Last Will and Testament may not have the personal injury trial experience that you need. You have a right to ask about the experience and training of the lawyer you hire. You should exercise this right.

Should I release my medical records to the insurance adjuster?
Definitely not. Releases should only be signed under limited circumstances and after consulting with a qualified personal injury lawyer. If your medical information gets into the insurance adjuster's hands, it could hurt your case.

Who will pay the doctor bills and fix my car if the other person has no insurance?
Even if the other driver doesn't have any insurance, you may still be covered. Check with our office. We can look at your policy and tell you if you have uninsured motorist coverage, coverage which can compensate you if you have a car accident with someone who has no insurance.

Auto Accident Procedures

Stop immediately
Stay calm and do what you can within reason to avoid blocking traffic. Never leave the scene of an accident in which you or your car were involved no matter how slight the collision. Pull over to the side of the road as soon as possible without endangering any other person and without obstructing traffic.

Check to see if anyone is injured
Take care of any person that is injured, including rendering medical attention as soon as possible. Contact 911 or any other ambulance service in order to receive medical treatment. Do not assume a lack of an injury means a person is not hurt.

Call the police
An auto accident should be reported to the proper authorities. The report may not only be helpful later if you determine that you are injured or there is damage to your car, but it may be helpful later if the other person tries to avoid responsibility for the accident.

Don't Sign
If an insurance adjuster shows up at the scene, don't give any statements and don't sign anything.

Gather Info
If possible, get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses. Make a mental note of what witnesses say, like, "That black car was flying."

Visit your doctor
Even if you are not sure whether or not you are injured or anyone else in your vehicle is injured in the accident, it is best to be examined by a doctor at the earliest possible time or to go to the nearest emergency room. If you are examined by a doctor, make sure you are specific in explaining to the physician how the accident happened and any and all injuries and problems you sustained as a result.

Inform your insurance company
Make sure that you call your insurance company immediately to report the auto accident. Failing to report the auto accident immediately could, in some instances, result in the insurance company not covering you for the accident. You should contact the company immediately and if you are injured, make sure you ask the company to start paying your medical bills and open up a file to not only pay the property damage, but all of your medicals.

Call Hyatt Legal Services Injury Lawyers
Before signing any statements, consult an Maryland personal injury law firm that specializes in helping those who have been injured in an Maryland auto accident. At Hyatt Legal Services Injury Lawyers, we have helped thousands of clients get the money they deserved for their injuries.

Free Case Evaluation!

What You Need to Know

The law requires the person or company responsible to pay for your auto accident repairs and injuries. Many victims of motorcycle and auto accidents in Maryland try to handle their own personal injury cases, hoping the insurance companies involved will settle as promptly and fairly as advertised. Unfortunately, not all insurance companies respond in that manner. Insurance companies' obligations are to their stockholders and policyholders, not to people injured in an Maryland auto accident. Insurance companies have enormous advantages: vast wealth, armies of sharp, experienced adjusters and lawyers, and dozens of legal reasons to reduce or deny compensation. At Hyatt Legal Services Injury Lawyers, our obligation is to you.

Negotiating alone or waiting until the insurance company makes an offer can be frustrating and costly. One wrong move or mistake can cost you money. Delay or guessing about the value of your personal injury case can result in the loss of valuable rights and thousands of dollars. You need an Maryland personal injury lawyer who can help you recover your losses. At Hyatt Legal Services Injury Lawyers, that is our main goal.

Compensation can be sought for medical bills, lost wages, car rentals and repairs, and for any pain and suffering you endured. Hyatt Legal Services Injury Lawyers is highly experienced in the field of auto accident law. Our expert case managers and investigators will take care of getting the proof needed to recover your damages when you’ve been injured in Maryland. Hyatt Legal Services will use every available resource to help you.

Beat the Insurance Company
Don’t let the insurance company keep you from getting the money you deserve for your auto accident!

Insurance companies understand auto accidents bring confusion to people's lives. But while they claim to offer hope and security to auto accident victims, sometimes they only make your recovery more confusing and difficult. These giant corporations manage their profits by paying less money to people injured in Maryland auto accidents -- people who need it. They do this by taking advantage of any instances where an injured person does not have proof of damages or injuries. Our Maryland personal injury lawyers at Hyatt Legal Services know that's not fair, so we've put together some ways that people injured in auto accidents can show proof of their injuries and beat the insurance company at its own game.

At the Scene of the Collision:

Make Observations
Identify the witnesses so there will be someone to support your case if it goes to court. Write down their names and addresses and interview them. Ask them what they saw and make a note of phrases they used like "slammed into," "plowed," "speeding" or "he ran the red light."

Be On Guard
Beware of insurance representatives at the scene of your Maryland car accident. It has been rumored that some insurance companies send adjusters or other staff to auto accident scenes in order to catch people off guard with incriminating questions or to have them sign away any rights they may have to future compensation.

Immediately After the Collision:

See a Doctor
If you are injured from your auto accident, schedule an appointment with your own doctor as soon as possible. Don't let the insurance company choose a doctor for you. You have the right to a doctor of your choice.

Photograph Your Car
Take pictures of your car as soon as possible after your auto accident. When the insurance company asks for proof of damage, it is difficult to dispute a picture taken of your car at the collision scene. Pictures of the damage will help tell your story. If possible, take pictures of the other cars involved as well. These pictures will help supply information about the severity of the impact associated with your collision.

Photograph Your Injuries
Take pictures of your injuries before they heal. In many cases, the seat belt strap will bruise our client across the shoulder and chest, but after several weeks those bruises heal. Months later, when the insurance company argues that the auto accident was not very significant, pictures of your bruises and other injuries will help solidify your personal injury claim.

As Time Passes:

Write Down Your Observations
Keep notes about your injuries. In 6 or 7 months, you might forget how it hurt just to get dressed, and the insurance company will try to make it seem like any description you give is an exaggeration. Write down your pain medications. These kinds of written documents can be very valuable when presenting your personal injury claim to the insurance company or to a judge and jury in court.

Keep Records of Expenses
Insurance companies always ask for proof of anything you claim as an expense. Be sure you keep receipts for prescriptions, household services like lawn-mowing and getting someone to cook for you, car rentals, and so forth. Keep each of those receipts so you can document every expense.

Most Importantly:

Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Without legal help from an Maryland personal injury law firm like Hyatt Legal Services Injury Lawyers, you may have no idea of the real value of your claim. Moreover, the Insurance Research Council found that, on average, injured people who use a lawyer receive three and a half times more money than those who do not! (Source: Insurance Research Council 1999 study).

The Bottom Line
In too many cases, the insurance company is not on your side. Its goal is to maximize profitability and stock value by giving you as little as possible after your Maryland auto accident. Whether you choose Hyatt Legal Services Injury Lawyers to represent you or not, you need an experienced, tough law firm on your side. Don't go it alone. Our Maryland injury lawyers will fight to get the compensation you deserve.

Free Case Evaluation!

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The Firm makes no representation that information on this Site is appropriate or available for use outside the United States. Those who choose to access this Site from outside the United States do so on their own initiative and are responsible for compliance with local laws, if and to the extent local laws are applicable.

LINKS TO OTHER SITES

This Site may contain links to non-Firm sites. These links are provided to you only as a convenience. Such linked sites are not under the control of the Firm and the Firm is not responsible for the contents of any linked site, or any link contained in a linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement by the Firm of the site, and the Firm shall have no responsibility for information which is referenced by or linked to this Site.

SUBMISSIONS TO THE FIRM AND AFFILIATED SERVERS

Information, including but not limited to remarks, suggestions, ideas, graphics, or other submissions, communicated to the Firm through this Site does not create an attorney-client relationship or confidential relationship between you and the Firm. Any electronic communication between you and the Firm will not be privileged or confidential; may be disclosed to other persons; and may not be secure. Therefore, you should not send any e-mail to the Firm that contains confidential or sensitive information. Further, all information submitted is the exclusive property of the Firm. The Firm is entitled to use any information submitted for any purpose, without restriction (except as stated in the Privacy Statement below) or compensation to the person sending the submission. The user acknowledges the originality of any submission communicated to the Firm and accepts responsibility for its accuracy, appropriateness, and legality.

ENFORCEMENT OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS

These Terms are governed and interpreted pursuant to the laws of the State of Maryland, United States of America, notwithstanding any principles of conflicts of law. All disputes arising out of or relating to these Terms shall be finally resolved by arbitration conducted in the English language in Baltimore, MD, U.S.A. under the commercial arbitration rules of the American Arbitration Association. The parties shall appoint as sole arbitrator a retired judge who presided in the State of Maryland. The parties shall bear equally the cost of the arbitration (except that the prevailing party shall be entitled to an award of reasonable attorneys' fees incurred in connection with the arbitration in such an amount as may be determined by the arbitrator). All decisions of the arbitrator shall be final and binding on both parties and enforceable in any court of competent jurisdiction. Notwithstanding this, application may be made to any court for a judicial acceptance of the award or order of enforcement. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Firm shall be entitled to seek injunctive relief, security, or other equitable remedies from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland or any other court of competent jurisdiction. If any part of these terms is unlawful, void, or unenforceable, that part will be deemed severable and will not affect the validity and enforceability of the remaining provisions. The Firm may, at its sole discretion and without notice, revise these terms at any time by updating this posting.

ENTIRE AGREEMENT

This is the entire Agreement between the parties relating to the subject matter herein and shall not be modified except in writing signed by both parties or by a new posting by the Firm, as described above.

PRIVACY STATEMENT

Because our Site permits individuals to submit e-mail, we have developed this Privacy Statement to inform Site visitors of our policies and practices regarding such information. At some places on the Site, the use of a "cookie" may be offered. Most browsers now recognize when a "cookie" is offered, and permits the user to opt out of receiving it. If you are not sure whether your browser has this capability, you should check with the software manufacturer or your Internet service provider. "Cookies" are used on the Firm Site to facilitate use of an area of the Site. We do not use "cookies" to collect and distribute information to third parties for marketing purposes. Visitors are able to send e-mail through this Site, and their messages will contain their user's screen name and e-mail address, as well as any additional information the user may wish to include in the message ("Contact Information"). Opportunities to send e-mail or to subscribe to e-mail distribution lists through the Site are provided solely to let individuals send comments and communications to us and to request information from us. These messages are forwarded through the Site to the appropriate persons within the Firm to respond, at their discretion, to the questions or comments or to provide the information requested. In the event that the Firm is requested to contact a visitor concerning a visitor's interest for law-related services, contact information may also be used for purposes of making that communication.