Is it Worth it to File a Lemon Law Claim?

Judge and Public seated in Court Room concept.

Filing a lemon law claim for your defective vehicle might seem like a hassle. However, not only is your vehicle a significant investment, but you need to know you can rely on it to get you where you need to go. Fortunately, there is a straightforward and easy process in California lemon law claims to help ensure you obtain the remedy you deserve.

Here are some of the top reasons why it is worth it to file a lemon law claim:

It Costs You Nothing to File a Claim if the Vehicle is a Lemon

Many people might be deterred from pursuing a lemon law claim because they think they cannot afford an attorney to help them. But if you’re concerned about the legal costs associated with filing a lemon law claim, you may be relieved to find out that there are none if your vehicle is a lemon. In the event you prevail in your lemon law claim, you are entitled to keep all of your monetary settlement — the manufacturer is responsible to pay your attorneys’ fees.

You May Be Entitled to a Refund or a New Vehicle

When it comes to your car, few things can be more frustrating than having to constantly bring it to the repair shop — and incur the costs that come with doing so. But if you have a lemon on your hands, it’s crucial to be aware that four repair attempts will usually suffice to establish that the defect is one that cannot be fixed. Only two repair attempts may be necessary if the problem is one that could cause a safety hazard. If your faulty vehicle is still under the original manufacturer’s warranty and fails to conform to it, you may be able to obtain a refund for the cost of the car or a substantially similar replacement.

The Lemon Law Covers a Wide Variety of Defects

Depending upon the defect in your vehicle, you might wonder if it is worthwhile to pursue a lemon law claim. Importantly, California’s lemon law covers a broad scope of defects, problems, and nonconformities, including the following:

  • Defective brakes
  • Airbag defects
  • Faulty transmissions
  • Steering wheel issues
  • Unintended or sudden acceleration
  • Unexpected stalling
  • Flawed seatbelts
  • Defective floor mats
  • And many other problems

But not every defective vehicle is automatically a lemon — the defect must be one that cannot be repaired after several reasonable repair attempts were made. It must also substantially impair the vehicle’s safety or value.

A Brand New Car Might Be Presumed a Lemon if Certain Criteria are Met

There is a legal presumption in California that a vehicle is a lemon if the nonconformity arose within 18 months of the vehicle’s delivery, or the first 18,000 miles were driven. This can make it even easier for an owner to file a lemon law claim since they do not need to prove that the car is a lemon — instead, the burden is on the manufacturer to prove that the vehicle is not a lemon. However, even if the nonconformity arose outside of the presumption period, a consumer may still have a strong claim.

New and Leased Vehicles Qualify Under the Lemon Law

It’s not only new cars that might qualify under California’s Lemon Law. Any new vehicle purchased or leased within the state under the original manufacturer’s warranty might meet the criteria for a lemon if it has a substantial defect that cannot be fixed. Notably, it’s not only passenger sedans to which the statute applies — cars, pickup trucks, vans, SUVS, and recreational vehicles are all covered by the law.

Even if You Don’t Meet California’s Lemon Law Criteria, You May Still Have Options

If you don’t satisfy California’s Lemon Law criteria, you may still be able to pursue a claim under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. While the state lemon law provides broader protections, the federal statute may give you the option to file a claim for a defective vehicle purchased across state lines. Like the California Lemon Law, the Act provides consumers with the legal remedy of a buyback or replacement vehicle — and allows them to recover their attorneys’ costs and legal fees.

Contact an Experienced California Lemon Law Attorney

If you purchased a vehicle that failed to conform to the manufacturer’s warranty, you may be eligible to file a claim under California’s Lemon Law. It’s best to contact a skilled California Lemon Law attorney who can discuss your legal rights and remedies. The attorneys at The Ledbetter Law Firm have extensive experience providing consumers with dedicated advocacy and reliable representation to help ensure they obtain the compensation they deserve.

The Ledbetter Law Firm works with clients throughout Southern California who have purchased lemon vehicles and assists them with obtaining the refund or replacement vehicle to which they are entitled from the manufacturer. With offices conveniently located in Torrance and San Diego, California, telephone and video conferencing options are also available. Call (310) 878-0067 to schedule a consultation with a California Lemon Law attorney today.