A lemon car is a vehicle that has been returned, resold, or given to the manufacturer because of a defect or problem that prevents it from operating correctly or in its original condition. While owners cannot sell new cars for use until they have undergone all required safety inspections and examinations by an inspector, this is not always the case. For example, if you purchase a used car within the first 60 days after its previous owner has bought it, then you are entitled to some rights under California’s Lemon Laws.
California’s Lemon Law also states that anyone who buys or leases new property during the warranty period can get repairs done free of charge if there are any problems within 18 months after it is purchased/leased. This law applies to both parts of the property. It is critical to know your rights and get with experienced Lemon Law Attorneys as soon as possible to discuss the options in seeking justice.
What Determines a Car Is a Lemon?
If you purchase a new vehicle in Dana Point, CA, under warranty, and it has unrepairable problems after three or more attempts or if it cannot pass inspection within four months from the date of delivery, it is considered a lemon car.
A lemon car can also occur if your car is totaled while you still owe money on it, and the insurance company does not compensate for this loss. This often happens when an insurance company deems your totaled vehicle to have little value and denies paying out the money that was owed for the vehicle even though you were not at fault in causing your car to become totaled.
When your car becomes a case of what is known as “Lemon Law,” depending on the circumstances, you might be able to obtain either a replacement car or a full refund.
If you suspect that your car is a lemon, there are several steps to take first before making accusations of it being one:
- Check to see if there are any open recalls on your vehicle.
- Talk with the dealership and let them know about the problems.
- Make sure that you document all problem encounters.
- File all warranty claims for repairs.
- Request information from local service shops.
- Let the California Department of Consumer Affairs know about your situation.
- Get an Arbitration/Mediation.
The California Department of Consumer Affairs will decide whether or not they conclude that your car is indeed a lemon. During this process, both parties involved can agree or reach a verdict after being heard by someone who decides whether or not the car is indeed faulty.
An automotive expert will be brought in to determine the problem(s) with your vehicle and have the final say if it is indeed a lemon. If there is no agreement between both parties, either party can ask for arbitration/mediation to take place. California Lemon Laws are set up for this purpose so that you have legal protection during these times of trouble with automobiles.
When you find out that your car is indeed a lemon, there are many steps to take before driving away from any dealership you bought/leased the car from:
- Try working with the dealership first.
- Give them another chance to fix your car.
- If they refuse, then your next step is to contact the California Department of Consumer Affairs.
- The manufacturer will be contacted.
- You can seek legal help.
- File a lawsuit against the dealership or automaker.
You should never drive away with your lemon car. California’s Lemon Laws legally protect your right to return it. If you think that your new vehicle might be a lemon, you need to take specific steps to protect yourself and make sure that you receive justice if needed.
What Will A Lemon Law Attorney Do to Help You?
A lemon law attorney will help you recover the value of your car if you have purchased a lemon vehicle. The attorney will work with manufacturers to try and have them replace or take back your lemon vehicle, which can save you time feeling frustrated about trying to fix it yourself.
The first step that an attorney will take is writing a demand letter to the manufacturer on your behalf. The manufacturer may then either refuse the claim or request mediation. Suppose they are agreeable to giving you monetary compensation for your car. In that case, they will likely offer you arbitration instead of mediation, since arbitration means you are more likely to get a more significant settlement amount than if you went through playing mediator in court. You can also choose negotiation without arbitration, but this would take longer.
If the manufacturer does not agree to arbitration or mediation, your attorneys will draft a lawsuit. This can be done by filing it in small claims court if you want to control the case yourself. If you would rather have an attorney-controlled court process, the attorney would need to prove that the vehicle was indeed defective and caused damage through repairs. Once the case is confirmed, those who sold the car are liable to pay the plaintiff, plus attorneys and court costs.
Choosing A Lemon Law Attorney
The best way to learn more about what lemon law lawyers do is by making an appointment with one for free, so you can figure out which lawyer is right for you and how they handle their cases. Every lawyer is different, but the process is mostly the same regarding Lemon Law.