What Kind Of Lawyer Do I Need To Sue a Car Dealership?


Purchasing a car from a dealership can be an exciting yet stressful experience. While most dealerships aim to provide quality vehicles and satisfying service, problems occasionally arise that lead some customers to take legal action.

Suing a car dealership is a major undertaking that requires the expertise of the right attorney. This guide will help you understand what kind of lawyer you need if you plan to sue a car dealership in 2024.

Do You Have Grounds to Sue a car?

Before determining what type of lawyer to hire, you first need to establish if you have valid grounds for a lawsuit. There are several reasons consumers typically sue a car dealerships, including:

  • Fraudulent or misleading advertising
  • Sales of lemon vehicles
  • Odometer fraud
  • Spot delivery issues
  • Discriminatory lending practices
  • Unfair repossessions
  • Abusive debt collection practices
  • Violations of warranty law

If you experienced deception, broken agreements, or illegal actions related to the sale or financing of your vehicle, you may have a strong case. Consult with an attorney to receive an expert opinion on whether your situation merits legal action.

Types of Attorneys for Car Dealership Lawsuits

Sue A Car
Types of Attorneys for Car Dealership Lawsuits

Consumer Protection Attorney

Consumer protection attorneys help clients who experienced deceptive business practices or false advertising. They are familiar with state and federal consumer laws, like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act and state lemon laws that protect car buyers. These attorneys are best for lawsuits involving:

  • Fraudulent misrepresentation of vehicles
  • Falsely advertised features or capabilities
  • Sales pressure or harassment

Hiring a consumer protection attorney can

  • Maximize damages recovered through consumer protection statutes
  • Access laws with fee-shifting provisions, lowering your litigation costs
  • Utilize their experience handling car dealership deception cases

Contract Law Attorney

A contract attorney focuses on contractual disputes and violations of agreed upon terms. They help if a dealership breached your purchase agreement or financing contract by:

  • Misrepresenting contract terms
  • Charging fees not included in the contract
  • Failing to provide services or features specified in the contract

Contract law attorneys offer:

  • Expertise interpreting auto sales contracts
  • Knowledge of relevant Uniform Commercial Code provisions
  • Experience negotiating with dealerships on contract issues

Lemon Law Attorney

Lemon law attorneys specialize in “lemon” laws that provide protections for defective new vehicles. They can file a lawsuit if your new car meets state lemon law criteria by:

  • Failing to be repaired after multiple repair attempts
  • Having serious safety defects
  • Being out of service for a set number of days

The benefits of a lemon law attorney include:

  • Understanding the technical details of state lemon laws
  • Navigating the lemon law arbitration process
  • Getting repurchases or replacement cars for “lemon” clients

Personal Injury Attorney

If you suffered physical harm due to the dealership’s actions, a personal injury attorney can help recover damages. Situations they handle include:

  • Test drives with unsafe vehicles
  • Slip and fall accidents on premises
  • Collision injuries in dealership loaner cars

Personal injury lawyers offer:

  • Ability to obtain compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering
  • Resources to investigate accidents and prove liability
  • Experience negotiating injury claim settlements

Assessing Your Case

Consider the specific circumstances of your situation to choose the right specialist. The facts impact whether the case involves consumer law, contract law, lemon laws, or personal injury claims. Also assess aspects like:

  • How strong the evidence is
  • Your goal for resolution
  • How much time has passed
  • If arbitration is required first

There can be overlaps between specializations. For example, a consumer protection attorney may also have lemon law expertise. Describing your case to attorneys helps them suggest the most relevant specialty.

Making an Informed Decision

Weigh the advantages of each type of lawyer based on your goals and case details. Arrange consultations, many which are free or low-cost, to get attorneys’ recommendations. Ask about their experience with car dealership lawsuits and success rate.

Also consider cost structures as some specialties are better suited for cases with strong evidence and potential for larger damages. With the right counsel for your needs, you stand the best chance of a favorable outcome.

Understand How Car Dealership Lawyers Operate

Sue a car dealership pits you against experienced legal defenses. Dealerships retain lawyers well-versed in fighting consumer claims. Understanding their typical tactics can help even the playing field:

Delaying responses: dealership attorneys often drag out responses to complaints to frustrate and outlast plaintiffs. Challenging jurisdiction: they may claim you filed suit in the wrong venue and try to transfer it elsewhere. This can add time and costs.

Seeking quick settlements – Offer low sums hoping you’ll take fast payout Counterclaims – File claims accusing you of defamation, breach to intimidate Discrediting evidence – Work to exclude or undercut supporting documentation

Understand How Car Dealership Lawyers Operate
Understand How Car Dealership Lawyers Operate

Gather Documents for Your Attorney

To build the strongest case possible against a car dealership, meticulously gather and organize all relevant documentation. This provides your lawyer with evidence to support your claims. Key documents may include:

  • Sales contract – Review for misleading clauses
  • Loan agreement – Reveal improper lending actions
  • Warranty information – Show violations of warranty law
  • Advertisements – Contain false info on pricing, features, etc.
  • Correspondence – Records of dealership misstatements
  • Service records – Prove attempts to fix problems
  • State complaints – Show sought resolution
  • Photos/videos – Visual proof of issues
  • Third-party inspections – Objective mechanic reports

Thorough documentation strengthens your credibility and your attorney’s ability to prove misconduct occurred.

Sue A Car
Gather Documents for Your Attorney

Understand the Litigation Process

If negotiations with a dealership fail, litigation may be necessary. Understanding what a lawsuit entails will help you make an informed choice about pursuing legal action. Key aspects include:

  • Pleadings: Your attorney will file an initial complaint alleging misconduct, while dealership lawyers will respond denying claims. Added documents and affidavits bolster positions.
  • Discovery: This intensive evidence collection phase involves deposing parties, requesting documents, issuing subpoenas, and hiring expert witnesses. Depositions require testifying under oath.
  • Case conferences – Provide status updates to judge
  • Trial – Present testimony and evidence
  • Settlements – Most cases settle before trial judgment
  • Appeals – Losing party can appeal judgment

Lawsuits require time and extensive participation. Be prepared for a lengthy process spanning months to potentially years depending on case specifics.

Assess Attorneys’ Fees and Expected Compensation

Suing a car dealership means committing to legal fees, but also opens the door to receiving compensation if your case succeeds. When researching attorneys, discuss fee structures to understand cost considerations.

When suing a dealership, there are several potential compensation and fee structures to understand. Attorneys may charge by the hour, with rates varying based on experience and location. Some attorneys work on contingency,

taking an agreed-upon percentage (often 30-40%) of any settlement or judgment as their fee. This means no payment is required upfront. Certain consumer protection laws also allow for statutory fee awards, authorizing payment of the plaintiff’s legal fees by the defendant if you win the case.

This can significantly limit your out-of-pocket costs. In terms of potential case compensation, you may receive direct payment for losses like repair costs already paid, fraudulent charges, fees for alternative transportation during repairs, and related costs.

In rare cases involving proven malice or gross negligence, courts sometimes award additional punitive damages intended to punish dealerships. However, these types of extra punitive sums are very difficult to obtain. Finally, some cases can end in non-monetary settlements

like vehicle buybacks or replacement cars provided directly by the dealership, without necessarily receiving a cash award. Understanding these potential fee arrangements and compensation types is important when considering litigation.

Assess Attorneys’ Fees and Expected Compensation

Following These Steps for Choosing the Right Attorney

Sue a car dealership takes serious consideration, but can provide resolution if you experienced mistreatment in your vehicle purchase. Follow these steps when navigating the process:

  • Document transaction issues thoroughly
  • Identify what went wrong and losses incurred
  • Research experienced attorneys in your issue area
  • Consult with top contending lawyers on case
  • Choose a confident attorney experienced in your case type
  • Discuss fee structures and costs
  • Provide organized documentation
  • Understand litigation process steps
  • Work closely with attorney through case

With the right legal representation and preparations, sue a car dealership can help you find justice and obtain compensation for unethical practices you may have faced during your vehicle purchase. Do your research and make informed choices to put your best legal foot forward.

examples of successful lawsuits against car dealerships

Texas jury awarded $5.8 million for odometer fraud rolling back mileage. California woman won over $40,000 when dealership refused advertised promotion

  • Florida class action settlement of $3.25 million for illegal fees
  • Ohio man received $142,000 for illegal auto-dialing calls
  • Maine couple awarded $1.1 million for undisclosed used car damage
  • Porsche settlement forced buyback of defective 911 for $80,000
  • Georgia woman got $150,000 for wrongful repossession
  • Class action against Chrysler dealers settled for $2.7 million over bogus fees


What can you sue a car dealership for?

You can sue a car dealership for things like fraud, breach of contract, violating consumer protection laws, selling a lemon vehicle, or causing personal injuries. Specific grounds include false advertising, failing to honor a purchase agreement, charging hidden fees, safety defects, and negligence that caused accidents.

What kind of lawyer do I need to sue a car dealership in Nevada?

In Nevada, you’ll want a lawyer experienced in consumer protection litigation, lemon laws, and the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act. An attorney familiar with Nevada’s arbitration process for auto defects can guide you through the required steps before a lawsuit.

What kind of lawyer do I need to sue a car dealership in Ohio?

For suing an Ohio dealership, seek an Ohio lemon law attorney, consumer protection lawyer, or attorney experienced in auto sales contract disputes. They will understand Ohio’s Lemon Law and Consumer Sales Practices Act that protect car buyers from fraud and defective vehicles.

Can I sue a car dealership in Florida?

Yes, you can sue a car dealership in Florida if they violated Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, Lemon Law, warranty laws, or other consumer protection statutes. Hire a Florida attorney knowledgeable in auto fraud litigation, breach of warranty claims, and consumer law.

Q: What are some common reasons people sue car dealerships?

A: Common reasons include selling lemon vehicles, odometer fraud, spot delivery issues, discriminatory lending, unfair repossessions, abusive debt collection practices, violating warranty law, and fraudulent advertising.

Q: What damages can I recover if I win my lawsuit against a car dealership?

A: You may recover compensatory damages like repair costs, fees paid, alternative transportation costs, as well as possible punitive damages. Vehicle buybacks or replacements are also potential outcomes. Attorney fees may be recovered too.

Q: How much does it cost to sue a car dealership?

A: Costs vary based on your legal representation model and case length. Hourly attorneys have varying rates. Contingency fee lawyers take a portion of recovered sums. Statutory fee awards limit plaintiff costs in some cases. Consult attorneys about options.


Sue a car dealership is a major decision that requires weighing the risks and costs against the potential benefits. While only a small percentage of vehicle purchases end in litigation, legal action can become necessary if you experience fraudulent, deceptive, or unlawful conduct.

By understanding lemon laws, consumer protection statutes, hiring the right attorney, and meticulously documenting your case, you can maximize your chances of success and justice. Though lawsuits require time and effort,

they provide a path to hold dealerships accountable. With the insights in this guide, you can make informed choices about your options and legal representation if you believe suing your car dealership may be the best course of action.

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