If your car qualifies as a lemon and you file a claim under the state lemon law, you will likely have to take the matter to arbitration before you can go to court. Arbitration is a crucial stage since it may resolve your lemon claim without the need to litigate the matter in court. If you are preparing to take your claim to arbitration, you might wonder if you have to bring an attorney, or whether you can if you desire to do so.
The California Department of Consumer Affairs explains that arbitrations do not require you to bring an attorney. Arbitration processes are less formal than court proceedings and are not subject to the same rules you might encounter in a courtroom. Nonetheless, arbitrations do involve presenting evidence and testimony, all of which the arbitrator will consider to help come to a decision.
However, you might have good reasons to want legal representation to assist you with an arbitration. Since the decision of an arbitrator will depend upon evidence and testimony, you may need the help of an attorney to sharpen your argument and prepare written testimony that might assist your case. People new to arbitration proceedings might not understand how the process will work and may need guidance during the process.
You do not need to attend an arbitration hearing. You can send an attorney to represent you in your place. People who do not feel confident in presenting their own case may benefit from an attorney speaking for them. Also, car buyers who have busy schedules might have trouble finding time to go to arbitration. Allowing an attorney to represent them at the hearing may help in this regard.
Additionally, not every car owner feels satisfied with an arbitration decision and may want to go ahead and contest the matter in court. However, civil courts may consider the original arbitration decision as evidence, which might hurt your case if the arbitration did not go as you had hoped. Knowing this, some people may hire an attorney for the initial arbitration to give themselves a better chance of securing a favorable outcome.