Don't Settle With Honda - Take Honda to Small Claims Court
Please note: the following is informational only. We are not taking cases of this nature at this time. Thank you and we appreciate your interest.
When the 2006 Honda Civic hybrid advertised that it would get about 50 miles to the gallon, consumers flocked to nearby dealerships and bought themselves the earth-friendly car of the future. Unfortunately, Honda manufacturers had to take a break from patting themselves on the back and put that effort back into their vehicles to fix the technical problems that keep the vehicle from reaching its advertised fuel efficiency. In an effort to compensate Honda drivers for the inconvenience, a class-action lawsuit has been proposed, but the projected numbers that would be received by consumers and their auto defect attorneys do not add up, spurring a wave of Honda consumers into pursuing alternative options. When going up against one of the biggest auto manufacturers in the world with one of the highest bankrolls available, it may come as a surprise that your best option may be to pursue a claim in Small Claims Court.
Honda has recalled 36,656 2006-2007 Civic Hybrid vehicles in the U.S. to fix a faulty component of the hybrid control system that could lead to engine stalling and headlight malfunction. No serious-injury collisions have yet to surface as a result of this model's malfunctions, yet consumers have been plagued by the vehicle's inability to perform to the standards at which it has advertised.
How to Take Honda To Small Small Claims Court
According to the Los Angeles Times, taking Honda to Small Claims Court for this malfunction may become popular in upcoming months. Heather Peters, an angry owner of the defective 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid, took her case to Small Claims Court on January 3rd in Torrance. What was especially interesting is that Torrance, under California law, prohibits attorneys from participating in her Small Claims Court hearing. Mrs. Peters is asking for the $12,000 maximum to compensate her for spending much more on gasoline than expected and urges other Honda owners to do the same.
Many people may be happy accepting the proposed settlement, but if you like to take matters into your own hands than opting out of the class-action and pursuing compensation in Small Claims Court may be the right choice for you. Once you opt out of the class, you cannot receive any of the consideration being given by the Honda to settle with the class --- so if you get no or less recovery from the Small Claims case, that is all you get. Representing yourself in a Small Claims Court matter may seem impossible, but it is surprisingly simple to get your case before the court if you have the time to do so. Most of the time, hiring an experienced law firm is in your best interest, but for victims of this particular auto defect, it may very well be in your best interest to pursue a claim on your own. If you win, you will potentially receive fair compensation. If you lose, you have lost the amount of time you spent preparing your case plus the benefits of the settlement that you feel are inadequate for your loss. The following is a list of information and steps that you must know and follow to successfully try your case in Small Claims Court. For more information, click on the bulletpoint links to the California Judicial Council's website.
- Representing Yourself in Personal Injury Matters
- Naming A Defendant
- Asking For Payment
- Finding the Right Court to File Your Claim
- Filling out Your Court Forms
- Filing your Claim
- Serving Your Claim
- Taking Your Claim to Court
- Collecting Your Judgment
Anyone following this course should have attempted to have Honda remedy the issues that the owner claims are a problem. You must give the manufacturer the ability to "cure" any claimed defective auto part that is keeping the product from performing "as promised". Such a claimant must have all of his repair invoices, and correspondence with the dealer or Honda. He must have evidence that mileage has not been what was promised. He must be able to establish what his damages are.
Success at the small claims hearing may not be the end of your road. A defendant who loses in a small claims case has the right to appeal to the Superior Court for a new trial of the claim. The parties may be represented by attorneys in that "trial de novo". The appeal is set to be heard quickly, and is a complete "do over". You will not be able to conduct discovery and the other evidence gathering that would be available to you in a civil case. Many people who are successful at the small claims level obtain a smaller recovery, or none, at the appeal level. It is important that you understand that you might have to conduct two trials of your claim before you reach a final result.
It may seem to be a little overwhelming, but once you get started on the process you may find it to be simpler than expected. By trying your own case, you won't have to share your fees with attorneys. Whatever you receive as compensation will be yours, and nothing can put a price on the level of satisfaction you will receive from holding Honda's hand to the fire. There are a lot more resources available for those looking to pursue cases on their own.