What Happens When You Win a Lemon Law Case?
- July 1, 2022
- Categories: Lemon Law FAQs
When you win a lemon law case, it’s typically the result of a pre-trial settlement agreement, though in rare circumstances, it could result from a successful jury trial. Either way, you are entitled to some form of compensation from the manufacturer. Fortunately, there are a few type of compensation settlements you may choose from. Your choices include:
- The manufacturer can repurchase your car, truck, boat, electric vehicle, or motorcycle.
- The manufacturer can replace your vehicle with a new one.
- In some cases, you can request a “cash and keep” settlement from the manufacturer.
We’ll examine each of these in greater detail below. The important thing to remember when asking “What happens when you win a lemon law case?” is that you have options. And you can choose the best option that fits your lifestyle, timing, and financial needs.
A Closer Look at Your Options
A winning lemon law claim presents you with options when it’s time to choose your compensation. Here are your choices:
The manufacturer will take possession of the defective vehicle and issue you a refund of the purchase price. The price, though, will be reduced based on your mileage use prior to the first repair attempt (read about this “buyback formula.” If you financed the vehicle, the manufacturer will refund the payments you’ve made and the down payment. It will also pay off your auto loan, sending a check directly to the lending institution. In addition, you will receive a refund of registration fees, taxes, etc.
The manufacturer will take possession of your defective vehicle and provide you with a new car, truck, or SUV of identical or substantially similar make and model. The manufacturer will pay the registration and taxes on the new vehicle, too. You will not, however, receive a refund of fees or finance charges paid on the original vehicle. This option requires the consent of both parties.
3. “Cash and Keep”
Sometimes we can negotiate an additional option called a “cash and keep.” This enables you to keep possession of your current vehicle and get a cash payment to compensate for the defect.
How Hard Is It to Win a Lemon Law Case?
The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, also known as California’s lemon law, applies to the purchase or lease of “consumer goods,” including vehicles. In § 1791(a) of the law, the statute defines consumer goods as “any new product or part thereof that is used, bought, or leased for use primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, except for clothing and consumables.” To win a lemon law case, you’ll want to hire a lawyer who specializes in these types of claims. There’s a lot to know about the law, and you can expect that the manufacturer’s legal department will fight hard to defeat your claim. At Neale & Fhima, we have a 99% success rate in lemon law cases. That’s because we’ve handled hundreds of these claims, we know which legal arguments work and which ones don’t, and we’re familiar with local courts and judges and how the legal system works.
First, you’ll want to determine if your vehicle qualifies under California lemon law guidelines, which covers new and some used vehicles. You can read more at What Qualifies for the California Lemon Law?
The ease or difficulty of winning your lemon law case will depend on several factors. Some of these are obvious, while others may surprise you. Factors include:
- The nature of the defect
- Whether your vehicle is still under warranty
- The number of repair attempts you’ve made
- The skill and determination of your lemon law attorney.
The best way to find out if you have a winnable case is to talk to an experienced lemon law attorney. Neale & Fhima would be happy to assess your situation, answer your questions, and explain your legal options. Call us for a free consultation at 877-308-2128.
8 Steps: How to Win a Lemon Law Case
There are eight easily identifiable steps you’ll want to take to get your ducks in a row and prepare to win a lemon law case. These include:
- Determine whether your vehicle is still under the original manufacturer’s warranty.
- Make sure you have given the dealership a reasonable number of chances to fix the problem.
- Learn about the statutory deductions that may apply to your claim.
- Make sure you do not run out of time under the statute of limitations.
- Research California lemon law attorneys to represent you in your claim.
- Collect your records relating to your vehicle’s repair history for the defect.
- Understand the remedies that are available for lemon law claims in California.
- Schedule a free consultation.
The law does require that you give the vehicle manufacturer’s authorized agent or dealer a “reasonable” number of attempts to repair the defect before you file a legal claim. While the law is a bit vague about how many trips to the shop constitute a “reasonable” number of tries, the goal is that you made a good-faith effort to have the defect repaired, which can range from two to four or more attempts.
The defect must affect the use, value, or safety of your vehicle. That means the problem must impair the use or decrease the quality of use of the vehicle, or reduce its resale or monetary value, or create safety problems. Its compromised safety doesn’t have to be life-threatening — it can simply cause potential safety issues.
Common defects that support a lemon law claim, include:
- Poor acceleration
- Radio and navigation problems
- Door locks don’t work
- Engine issues
- Electrical issues
- Noise complaints
- Braking problems (not just squeaking)
- Fuel gauges and speedometer don’t work
- Battery dies regularly, or drains irregularly
- Steering issues
- Transmission issues.
Lemon Law Resources from the State of California
Reading a lot of background information about California lemon law can prepare you to win a lemon law claim. The State of California publishes a great deal of information that is worthwhile to survey. Check out some of the following publications:
- California Department of Consumer Affairs – Lemon Law
- Los Angeles County Consumer and Business Affairs – Lemon Law
- Consumer Action – California Lemon Law
- Better Business Bureau – California Lemon Law
Statute of Limitations on a California Lemon Law Claim
The statute of limitations for filing a lemon law claim in California is four (4) years from the date a consumer knew or should have known that the vehicle was a lemon. This does not mean that if you have had your vehicle for more than 4 years, you cannot bring a lemon law claim. Our attorneys at Neale & Fhima have successfully “lemoned” vehicles that are over 10 years old. If you have purchased or leased a lemon, you’ll want to start the buyback process as soon as possible. After the statute of limitations has passed, a judge may dismiss your case. Don’t hesitate to contact our team if you have questions about the statute of limitations. Collect copies of your repair bills, work orders, and payment receipts and call an experienced lemon law attorney today.
Why Choose Us?
There are many attorneys to choose from in California, but we think our legal team is among the best and the brightest. At Neale & Fhima, we’ve represented thousands of clients in lemon law cases and have an outstanding 99% success rate. It’s hard to beat that! You can read what our satisfied clients have to say about our top-notch legal services. Consumers represented by attorneys often get a faster response and larger amount offered from manufacturers in lemon law cases than do those going it alone in the courts. Here are reasons to choose us:
- Years of Experience. Our attorneys have more than 40 years of combined experience representing clients throughout Southern California.
- We Know the Law.California’s lemon law is a fine example of how the state legislature can empower consumers. When it comes to clarity, however, the text of the statute leaves much to be desired. Our attorneys understand the quirks of the statute, as well as the many court opinions interpreting it. We put this knowledge to work for you.
- Free Consultations. We will always discuss your situation with you in a free initial consultation before you make any decisions about a claim.
Neale & Fhima Wins Lemon Law Cases
If you want to increase your chances of winning a lemon law claim, there’s no better team to choose than Neale & Fhima. We have a track record of success that rivals the best in the field. You want to do everything you can to ensure a win, so talk to our lemon law attorneys by calling 877-308-2128.
Attorney Aaron Fhima
Attorney Aaron Fhima is a trial attorney who has secured numerous settlements and verdicts against large corporations and some of the largest auto manufacturers in the world. Representing consumers and injury victims throughout the state of California, Aaron’s practice areas include personal injury, and lemon law litigation. Aaron has a long record of success taking on large defense firms; and he doesn’t hesitate to take cases to trial when necessary to enforce his clients’ rights.