Automobile Law & Legal Definition


An automobile is governed by state and federal laws, which vary by jurisdiction, An automobile is generally defined as a self-propelled vehicle that is operated on the highways and is propelled by the use of motor vehicle fuel. The automobile gives rise to many legal issues regarding sales and transfers of automobiles, repair work, safety standards, warranties, and accidents. Issues of contract law, consumer protection laws, and laws specific to automobiles are applicable.

If you have purchased a defective automobile, legal recourse may be made under the appropriate state Lemon Law statutes. There is also legal recourse under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a federal law, which protects the buyer of any product which costs more than $25 and comes with an express written warranty. This law applies to any product that you buy that does not perform as it should.

The Magnuson-Moss law is a federal law gives consumers considerable rights in dealing with manufacturers of lemon cars. This law guarantees a car buyer that certain minimum requirements of warranties must be met, and provides for disclosure of warranties before purchase. For any product which has a written warranty if any part of the product, or the product itself is considered defective, the warrantor must permit the buyer the choice of either a refund or replacement of the product.

Law firms have argued successfully to juries that the lemon manufacturers should be given three attempts to fix the defect. Continued attempts to repair beyond the initial three should not be allowed. This is called the "three strikes and you're out" principle.

A consumer may pursue legal action in any court of general jurisdiction in the United States to enforce his rights under the Magnuson-Moss Law. Attorney's fees based on actual time spent will be covered if the consumer does prevail, which provides an incentive for the manufacturer to settle consumers disputes before going to court.