Our California Lemon Lawyer at ClaimYourCase.com Explains How to Assert Your Rights!
If you bought or leased a vehicle that is still under the original manufacturer’s warranty and it turns out to be defective, you may have a claim under California’s lemon law for having your automobile replaced or re-purchased. It is critical that you are aware of the procedures necessary to file such a claim in order to assert your rights effectively. The following are the steps as outlined by our experienced California lemon lawyer:
1. Take Your Vehicle to the Dealership for Repair.
To protect your lemon law rights in California, you must have your car repaired by a “representative” of the manufacturer. This is usually done through taking it to the dealership. You must give the dealership a certain number of “attempts” to repair your vehicle under warranty before Lemon Law applies. Any work done on your car while you are away from the dealership may invalidate your warranty and prevent you from filing a successful lemon law claim if you take it to an independent repair shop rather than back to the original manufacture’s representative..
2. Get Your Dealership Repair Orders.
To establish a lemon law case, it’s important to keep an accurate paper trail. Be specific every time you visit the dealership about your vehicle’s issues. If possible, get copies of all repair orders and keep them in a safe place. Having this dealer documentation is key if you want to pursue legal action later on down the road.
3. Give the Dealership a “Reasonable Number of Attempts” to Resolve the Issue.
The definition of a “reasonable number of attempts” will be unique to each situation, depending on the harshness of the issue, whether or not the dealership has been able to identify a problem with the vehicle, and how much time and mileage is between visits. There is no fixed number of visits needed, although at least two are typically required, and three or four are usually enough. However, if the time spent at the dealership exceeds 30 days, we may be able to maintain successful claims on the first visit. Because the “reasonable number of repair attempts” criterion is subjective, it’s a good idea to get legal counsel.
4. Gather All Relevant Documentation.
Make sure you have all the relevant documentation before filing your claim, including a copy of your purchase or lease agreement and dealership repair orders.
5. Your Car Warranty Does Not Need to be Current.
The lemon law in California applies to vehicles that were fixed under warranty. Even if your warranty has expired, you may still have a lemon law claim if your car was repaired under the warranty. Even an expired guarantee should not prevent you from bringing a lemon law action.
6. Hire an Experienced Lemon Lawyer.
You will eventually need to speak with a professional California lemon law lawyer. Filing complaints always necessitates legal expertise, and large companies usually have entire teams of experienced defense lawyers to represent them in these cases. Your attorney will be able to handle the legal elements of your claim. We’ll be there to help you make educated judgments at each stage, including settlement discussions, litigation defense strategies, and monitoring your vehicle’s return when the automobile is repurchased.
7. A Demand Letter is Not Required.
You don’t have to contact the manufacturer first, even though it might help your case. You or your attorney can send a demand letter to the manufacturer before filing a complaint, but often manufacturers won’t take cases seriously until they get a formal court complaint.
8. Negotiate a Settlement or Litigate.
If the manufacturer’s first offer is fair and you are happy with it, your case will settle. However, if negotiations don’t go well or you aren’t content with the compensation being offered, it may be time to pursue litigation. The majority of lemon law cases do settle outside of court, but having an attorney who is willing to fight for you can make all the difference.
9. Arbitration is Not Required.
Unlike in other states, California law does not require individuals with lemon vehicles to go through arbitration before filing a complaint. Oftentimes, manufacturers try to get consumers to arbitrate their case via the manufacturer’s own program. They anticipate that many people will believe they don’t have a solid case and give up if they don’t win in arbitration. Remember that arbitrators are the manufacturers’ clients, and they frequently rule in favor of the customer, even in strong lemon law situations. Don’t get discouraged if you lose your case at arbitration. We’ve represented many people who were unsuccessful in manufacturer-arbitration before hiring us to assist with their faulty automobiles.
10. Proceed to Trial.
If the manufacturer does not want to settle after the complaint is filed, your case will go to trial. Lemon law cases usually settled, so you should hire an attorney who is ready for trial if negotiation fails. Trial is a very complex legal proceeding; therefore, you need a California lemon law attorney to represent you and protect your legal rights if it goes to that stage.
Get Started With a Free Initial Consultation With an Experienced Lemon Lawyer in California
If you have questions regarding filing a lemon law claim in California, please contact our offices for a free, no-obligation consultation. Please call to talk with one of our lemon law attorneys about your rights. Call us now, we’re available 24/7 (877) 776-9558