How Do I Prove My Case?
Although a hearing is less formal than a court trial, you must still prove your case to the Administrative Law Judge. You must prove that:
- you purchased or leased a new motor vehicle, and you still own or lease it at the time of the hearing;
- the vehicle had a defect covered by the warranty, and you reported the defect to the dealer or manufacturer during the warranty period;
- you filed a Lemon Law complaint within the time limit and paid the filing fee;
- you gave the manufacturer or its dealer a reasonable number of attempts to fix the defect or condition, but the defect remained. Ordinarily, the defect must continue to exist at time of hearing;
- you notified the manufacturer of the defect in writing and have given the manufacturer at least one chance to fix it;
- the defect or condition substantially impairs the use or market value of the vehicle, or creates a serious safety hazard. You may be able to prove the vehicle`s use is impaired if any of its major systems are defective, or if a defect such as a water leak prevents it from being used normally in the rain.
A vehicle`s value may be decreased by paint flaws or any other condition that would lead a buyer to pay substantially less than the market price for a comparable vehicle that does not have the defect. A serious safety hazard is a lifethreatening malfunction that impedes your ability to control or operate the vehicle normally or that creates a substantial risk of fire or explosion.
TxDOT attorneys conduct the hearings, which usually last two to four hours. These attorneys (administrative law judges or ALJs`s) travel across the state to locations convenient to consumers. The judge does not represent either party at the hearing, but reaches a decision based on the evidence presented.
Proof elements here are described in layman`s terms. The actual legal provisions are found in &se4ct;6.07 of the V.T.C.S. Article 4413(36).