How to File a Lemon Law Claim in California

If you have a defective vehicle that you leased or purchased and it still qualifies under the initial manufacturer warranty, you might have important rights under California’s lemon law. These rights can include having your vehicle replaced or repurchased by the dealer.

However, you need to take certain steps to meet lemon law requirements, and you want the right lemon law attorney handling your claim.

Table of Contents

1. Try to Get Your Vehicle Repaired

California lemon law requires a car owner to attempt repairs at a representative of the manufacturer, which is often the dealer. Make sure you are always clear that you are returning for the same issue that was not properly fixed the last time. Keep all records of repair attempts by the dealer.

The dealer must get a reasonable number of tries to properly repair the car under its warranty. This often involves at least two or three visits or a visit when the dealer keeps your car for 30 days or longer. Consulting with a lemon lawyer can help you know whether the dealer has had “reasonable attempts” at repairs without success.

2. Gather Records and Documentation

If the dealer still cannot fix your car, gather records, including all repair attempts, your lease or purchase agreements, your warranty information, and more. Having these documents organized can help an attorney properly evaluate your rights.

3. Hire an Experienced California Lemon Law Attorney

Manufacturers regularly fight lemon law claims, and consumers might be stuck with their lemons if they do not have the right legal help. You want to consult with a lawyer who handles this type of claim so they can file a complaint on your behalf. Unlike other car-related claims, you do not have to first make demands of the manufacturer directly before filing a complaint in civil court. The complaint must show that you meet the requirements for a claim under the law, as well as provide evidence to support your claim.

A lemon law vehicle can drain your finances. If the car is with a dealer for repairs, you need an alternative means of transport, which is expensive. On the other hand, a sudden breakdown translates to disruption of plans and inconveniences.

Considering the magnitude of loss and inconvenience associated with lemons, your case deserves the best representation to increase your chances of success.

4. Negotiations and Litigation

A manufacturer might make you an offer of compensation or vehicle replacement once they receive your complaint. You do not have to accept this first offer, and you should discuss whether the offer is acceptable with your attorney. Your lawyer can always negotiate with the manufacturer for a better offer.

If you receive an offer that is acceptable to you, your attorney can accept it on your behalf. You will then sign a settlement agreement that provides you with the replacement or repurchase of your vehicle, as well as any additional compensation you deserve. In exchange, you drop your claim against the manufacturer.

If your case does not settle, your attorney can handle every step of the litigation process, including representing you at trial if needed.

5. File Your California Lemon Law Claim Sooner Than Later

Many people mistakenly believe that the 18 months/18,000 miles requirement is the statute of limitations for filing a lemon law claim. However, this period only defines the timeframe within which a court may assume your vehicle qualifies as a lemon.

In reality, you have four years from the date you knew or should have known that your vehicle was a lemon to file a lemon law lawsuit.

Speak with a California Lemon Law Attorney Today

If you have a lemon and believe you have a case under California law, reach out to LemonLaw123 as soon as possible.

At LemonLaw123, our experienced lemon law attorneys in California only charge our clients a commission after winning the case, which benefits you and motivates our team. We handle many types of lemon law claims, including cars, RVs, and motorcycles. Contact us for more information today.

Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell

Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell, known as The Lemon Law Lady, has dedicated her entire legal career to the specialized field of Lemon Law, a journey that began immediately after her
graduation from UCLA School of Law.

With a 99% success rate and a policy of no fees unless you win, her practice stands as a testament to her expertise in California’s Lemon Law, her commitment to her clients, and her unwavering dedication to justice and consumer rights.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney Valerie G. Fernandez Campbell, personally handled over 500 lemon law cases and settlements.