Being burdened with a lemon vehicle can be both inconvenient and costly. Whether it be electrical malfunctions, faulty turning signals, or any other number of defects, having one can pose serious safety issues for drivers and passengers as well as those around you on the road.
If you have recently had your vehicle break down on the side of the road, you’re likely wondering about what’s next for it. You may also be wondering whether your vehicle meets the criteria of being a ‘lemon’ and may need to be taken to court. Lemon laws protect consumers against having undependable vehicles that are bought or leased by them. In this article, our lemon law lawyer San Diego tells you if your lemon law case will reach court or get resolved before that.
What is considered a lemon vehicle?
When you buy a used car from a licensed dealership, the vehicle typically comes with a warranty against defects. The California Lemon Law does not apply when it comes to new vehicles or to cars purchased from private owners. In order for you to take advantage of your rights under the California Lemon Law, you must be able to prove that the issues stem from a defect that occurred during manufacturing and therefore qualify as manufacturer’s defects.
Most states have lemon laws allowing you to return a defective car to the dealership. Before making the call, know that four trip attempts usually qualifies your car as a lemon under California’s Lemon Law. However, if there is a serious safety problem (the make of your car could get you killed) then only two replacement attempts need to be made. If you’ve been without your car for thirty days or more than it could also be considered a lemon in many states.
Arbitration for the case to be resolved?
Manufacturers can encourage you to go with arbitration as it will help them solve the matter more quickly, but they are not always doing what is best for the consumer. If your claim is strong enough, it might be better to take legal action against the manufacturer rather than arbitrate, in which case it may be necessary to consider litigation. Lemon law arbitration can be an unfavorable option for consumers. Unlike litigation, arbitration doesn’t permit discovery which can help prove your claim. Additionally, a court will not overturn an arbitration decision if it did not rule in your favor.
If it turns out that you are able to resolve your case outside of arbitration, then you’ll typically be entitled to more money than you would get just from arbitration. A case that goes in front of a judge or jury may entitle you to recover actual damages and/or punitive damages, but when it comes to arbitration, only may be eligible for all compensatory and incidental damages.
How does a case go to court?
If the manufacturer of your defective vehicle is unwilling to replace or repurchase it, you may have no other option but to take your lemon law case to court. The success of your case depends on how strong your case is and what the manufacturer’s viewpoint is on the case. Often, these are the types of issues that are frequently litigated in lemon law court cases. The manufacturer will deny the case by bringing up reasons such as:
- Reasonable repair opportunities.
- The defect was not covered under warranty.
- The defect arose because of unreasonable use of the vehicle.
You should file your lemon case as soon as possible as there is a time limit to filing for the lemon law. If you fail to file for the lemon law within the time limit, your case won’t be accepted into court.
You can be entitled to recovery, including:
- Towing costs,
- hotel costs,
- travel costs,
- attorney’s fees,
- misc court costs,
- rental vehicle expenses
- and other expenses related to the vehicle
How can a lemon law attorney in San Diego help?
Lemon law cases can be very challenging to deal with. This is why it’s important to have a knowledgeable lemon law attorney San Diego on your side who can help you prove that there was indeed an error such as faulty parts, defects, or both present during the manufacturing of your car which has rendered it useless. An attorney will help you decide whether litigation or negotiation with the manufacturer would be best suited depending on what you hope to achieve within the case.
The McMillan Law Group has helped protect the rights of consumers against defective and dangerous products. We understand the importance of each individual case, and take pride in helping our clients. If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective or dangerous product, or you have a potential product liability case, contact us today.