How to Determine if You Have a Lemon Based on California’s Lemon Law

By  //  August 19, 2021

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California is one of the states with a Lemon Law that outlines when vehicles are defective after purchase and require repair or replacement to prevent the owner from having substantial financial losses. Although every state doesn’t have a Lemon Law, luckily for the residents of CA, they have them in place. 

However, proving a buyer has a Lemon is an extensive process that requires specific documenting and proof. There are also some limits to the protection offered by the Lemon Law. Keep in mind that not all the vehicle parts are covered, and there are many things to know and consider before taking legal action to collect compensation. 

What is the Lemon Law? 

The California Lemon Law is outlined in Civ. Code 1793.2 et seq. It states that the buyer is protected when a vehicle is defective and cannot be repaired after several reasonable attempts. This law covers new vehicles and those that still have a manufacturer warranty in place at the time of the sale. 

While the warranty is still in place, the owner is still protected, and the Lemon Law applies. If the California Lemon Law applies to a vehicle, they must make several attempts to have the manufacturer repair the vehicle to return it to satisfactory working condition. 

If, after numerous attempts to repair the vehicle, and it is still malfunctioning or isn’t in working condition, the manufacturer must buy back the vehicle or replace it. In order to get an award or resolution under the Lemon Law, you must prove a few facts. Some things to consider must be that you need to prove the following. 

■ The vehicle is in its condition not as a result of improper use. 

■ The defect affects the value or safety of the vehicle in question

■ The vehicle must be covered under a manufacturer’s warranty 

Keep in mind that the number of repair attempts to enact the Lemon Law can depend on several factors the court considers. Some specific occurrences also need to occur for the Lemon Law to apply and include the problem beginning within 18,000 miles or 18 months of purchase. Additionally, if it states in the manufacturer’s handbook, you must notify them of the issue. 

Generally, when it comes to repairs, you need to take it into a manufacturer’s authorized mechanic at least four times for the Lemon Law to apply to your case. However, in cases where it’s a serious defect or problem that has the potential to cause severe injury or death, the number drops to more than two repair atoms. The Lemon Law applies in instances where the vehicle is out of commission for over a month or 30 days. These need to be consecutive days and not total days when the vehicle is unusable. 

What to do if You Think You Have a Lemon

Not every person thinks they have a lemon right away. They may have a problem with the vehicle and take it in for repairs assuming they will have it fixed and ready to drive when it comes out of the shop. The critical thing to know is that you should never assume that the car will be fine. It’s best to think about potential outcomes if you have a vehicle that is still under a manufacturer warranty and has a significant defect that requires repair for you to use it.

The best thing to do is to document all the issues with the vehicle and take pictures or video and keep all your repair order recipes and documentation. Be sure the extent of the repairs is listed on the recipient, along with the date and other additional information you might need to submit to an attorney.  

You’ll also want to keep precise documentation for each follow-up appointment for repairs. If the vehicle is in the repair shop for an extensive time, keep track of the day precisely to ensure you can use the Lemon Law on your behalf if the case goes to court. 

Remember that all documentation is vitally important, but it is also just as important to make sure the vehicle owner does their part as outlined in the law if they want to have legal recourse to help to prevent financial losses. If it seems like the Lemon Law is applicable in your particular case, you’ll likely want to start the search for a California Lemon Law attorney. 

Finding a Lemon Law Attorney

If you feel you have a case under the California Lemon Law and want to pursue legal action, you’ll need to find an attorney who specializes in those types of cases. Because these cases are complex and require specific insight and experience, work with an attorney with a proven track record and positive reputation. 

Before selecting an attorney to represent your Lemon Law case, you’ll also want to check out the online reviews from other victims and see what they have to say about their experience with that particular attorney or firm. This research can help narrow down the options and also help you prevent running into unexpected issues working with them along the way. 

Once you have a list of possibilities, you’ll want to call them to schedule a consultation in person or on the phone. Be sure to have you’re documenting handy for the consultation because they likely need specific details to determine if you have a case or a case worth pursuing. 

Working with an Attorney

Anyone in California who wants to find an attorney known for helping clients file successful Lemon Law claims should search for the top Lemon Law attorneys in their areas.

In most instances, the top Lemon Law attorneys in the area offer comprehensive services, including assistance with filing the necessary documentation and offering advice and instructions on how to proceed to get the best outcome for your case. Additionally, they know how the law works and the best way to prove the case, so you can get a new vehicle. 

When you work with an attorney, be sure to give them all the available evidence and information or provide them with additional resources and details to help them collect as much information as possible. They can help you better understand the process and guide you through every step to ensure the best outcome.

If you think you have a case that falls under the California Lemon Law, now is the time to get started on getting the compensation you need. Reach out to the attorney today and find out if you have a case, and if so, what you need to do to begin the process of fixing the problem.