San Bernardino has lots to offer visitors and residents alike. From fishing at Seccombe Lake to skiing in Big Bear, to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. However, navigating winding mountain roads and city streets can become a hazard when your car is in need of costly repairs. From 2018 to 2021, there were 34,136 lemon law cases filed against auto manufacturers in California.

When you buy a car, you have a reasonable expectation that it will function without problems and won’t require service or repairs in the immediate future. Dealing with constant repairs shortly after purchasing a car, especially when it’s brand new, can be disruptive to your busy schedule. If you’ve been facing such a situation, you may have a lemon law claim against the vehicle manufacturer.

Many people in San Bernardino don’t realize that they can file a lemon law claim for any vehicle problems they encounter after buying a new car. Lemon law also extends its coverage to used cars purchased from dealerships, often accompanied by warranties. If you’ve been contending with a troublesome vehicle in San Bernardino, you have the right to seek compensation not only for repair expenses but also for time missed from work and any medical bills resulting from injuries in case of an accident.

Who do you file a lemon law claim against in California?

Under California’s lemon laws, you possess the right to inform the Vehicle Manufacturer about the condition of your vehicle. This initial step should be taken before initiating a claim, because the vehicle manufacturer may want to reach a settlement before a lawsuit is filed.

If the dealership or vehicle manufacturer is unable to provide a resolution, you have the right to file a lemon law claim in court. If you choose to make such a claim in court, then it’s important to be represented by a highly experienced legal team.

What vehicles fall under lemon laws in California?

Most vehicles that have been sold with a warranty fall under lemon laws in California, including:

  • Cars
  • Vans
  • Trucks
  • Motorcycles

To qualify for lemon law protections in California, the vehicle must:

  1. Exhibit a defect that poses a safety hazard, and
  2. The defect must be substantial.

Minor defects typically don’t fall under the protection of lemon laws. In order to determine whether any issues you experience with your vehicle would be considered major or minor, and to navigate the details of any resultant claim, we recommend having the assistance of a qualified attorney.

The defect in the vehicle should manifest within the initial 18 months of purchasing the vehicle or within the first 18,000 miles driven. Courts typically consider whichever occurs first when determining the defect date. Additionally, it’s essential to notify the automobile manufacturer about the defect, and they must have made multiple attempts to rectify it. Given the numerous factors and criteria involved in a lawsuit, our lawyers are fully prepared to assist you. We are available 24/7 to address any inquiries. Heidari Law Group has a proven track record, having successfully handled hundreds of lemon law cases in the past.

Are only personal cars covered under lemon law?

Lemon law typically applies to vehicles used for personal purposes, rather than for business use. This implies that if the vehicle was utilized for household tasks, such as commuting to work and transporting family members, it would be eligible under these laws.

Does a business vehicle not fall under lemon law?

If you are a business owner and have purchased a vehicle that you suspect to be a lemon, we encourage you to reach out to our attorneys to explore your case. There are specific situations in which a business vehicle might qualify as a lemon. For instance, if you operate a business and have fewer than five vehicles registered under the business, you may have the opportunity to file a claim to seek compensation for the defects.

Do I have to arbitrate my lemon law claim?

Arbitration involves negotiations between both parties. In California, there is no mandatory requirement to arbitrate your lemon law claim. However, it is advisable under specific circumstances.

Do you need a lemon law attorney in San Bernardino?

While it’s not obligatory to have legal representation in a lemon law claim in court, we strongly advise retaining the services of a seasoned attorney who possesses expertise in the legal proceedings. Handling a lemon car situation can be quite challenging, and it becomes even more complex when you involve the legal system and other parties. Our top recommendation to you is to enlist an attorney to advocate on your behalf, ensuring that you secure the compensation you require.

What will our lemon law in San Bernardino lawyers do?

Our attorneys boast decades of experience in ensuring that clients receive the rightful compensation they deserve when they’ve suffered damages or personal injuries due to the actions of another party. We are dedicated to pursuing justice for our clients. While each attorney in San Bernardino may have their unique approach, our attorneys are accessible around the clock to assist our clients. Here are some of the tasks our attorneys will undertake in your lemon law case:

  • Assess your case: This begins during the initial consultation, where we will pose a range of questions to pinpoint the precise nature of the defect in your vehicle and the extent of damages you may be entitled to.
  • Engage with the manufacturer: Effective communication and negotiation with a vehicle manufacturer require the expertise of a highly qualified attorney, especially considering that vehicle manufacturers deal with a multitude of lemon law claims annually. Our tenacious attorneys are adept at negotiating with dealerships and car manufacturers on behalf of our clients.
  • Initiate a lawsuit: If negotiations with the vehicle manufacturer fail to yield agreeable compensation, we will proceed to file a lawsuit in court. There are various prerequisites that must be satisfied to initiate a lawsuit, and we will guide you through the legal process.
  • Trial representation: In the event that your case goes to trial, our experienced trial attorneys possess the necessary skills and background to effectively represent you.

What type of compensation could I receive for my lemon law claim in San Bernardino?

The types of compensation you may receive hinge on the particulars of your lemon law claim and the nature of the defect in your vehicle. Examples of compensation you might be eligible for in your San Bernardino lemon law claim could encompass:

  • Repair costs
  • Refund of the vehicle purchase price
  • Refund of the vehicle registration
  • Refund of the vehicle license fees
  • Refund of the vehicle purchase taxes
  • Replacement of the vehicle
  • Compensation for the lost value of the vehicle
  • Attorney’s fees (these damages are only awarded when you win your lemon law claim)

Legal Process of San Bernardino Lemon Law Claims

San Bernardino lemon law claims require a comprehensive understanding of state-specific laws and procedures. For any consumer suspecting their vehicle is a lemon, the initial step is to meticulously document every fault and repair visit, which forms the foundation of the legal case.

After an adequate number of repair attempts have been made without successful resolution, the next step is to consult with a specialized attorney who understands the intricacies of California’s lemon laws. The attorney will evaluate the case details and may recommend sending a demand letter to the manufacturer, outlining the legal position and remedies sought under the law.

If the manufacturer does not comply, the attorney may proceed to file a lawsuit or suggest arbitration, depending on what is most beneficial for the client. Throughout this process, the attorney’s role is to navigate the legal system, negotiate with the manufacturer, and potentially go to trial, ensuring that the client’s rights are protected and they receive fair compensation or a replacement vehicle.

The Role of Lemon Law Attorneys in San Bernardino

Lemon law attorneys specializing in San Bernardino understand the specific laws and statutes governing vehicle defects. Once they take on a case, their primary role is to ensure all procedural requirements are met, including the proper submission of claims and the compilation of necessary documentation and evidence.

During negotiations with the manufacturer, lemon law attorneys use their expertise to argue the case effectively, ensuring the vehicle owner’s rights are upheld. They play a crucial role in arbitrations or court proceedings, presenting the case, cross-examining witnesses, and arguing based on legal precedents and statutes.

Their understanding of both the state-specific lemon laws and the broader legal principles governing consumer rights allows them to provide strategic advice and robust representation, aimed at achieving the best possible outcome for their clients, whether in the form of a vehicle replacement, full refund, or financial compensation.

Common Asked Lemon Law Questions

What are the typical qualifications for a vehicle to be considered a lemon under California law?

A vehicle in California might be considered a “lemon” if it has significant defects that affect its safety, use, or value, and if these defects cannot be repaired within a reasonable number of attempts by an authorized dealer. Generally, the vehicle must have a warranty-covered defect that persists despite a reasonable number of repair attempts, typically either four attempts for the same problem or two attempts for issues that could cause death or serious injury.

How does the lemon law process typically begin?

The lemon law process usually begins with the vehicle owner documenting recurring defects or safety issues, followed by repeated attempts to repair these defects at an authorized dealership. Documentation is crucial, including keeping all repair orders, receipts, and detailed notes about each service visit. After meeting the required number of repair attempts or days out of service, the consumer may submit a lemon law claim against the manufacturer.

What outcomes can a consumer expect from a successful lemon law claim?

From a successful lemon law claim, the consumer can generally expect either a full refund for the vehicle or a replacement vehicle from the manufacturer. Additionally, costs associated with the purchase (like taxes and registration fees) may also be recoverable. In some cases, cash compensation might be offered instead, and legal fees are often covered as well.

Can modifications to a vehicle impact a lemon law case?

Yes, modifications can significantly impact a lemon law case. If modifications are unrelated to the defect, the case may still proceed. However, if the defect arises due to modifications made by the owner or a third party (not the manufacturer or dealership), the vehicle may not qualify under the Lemon Law statutes.

What should a consumer do if denied a lemon law claim by the manufacturer?

If a lemon law claim is denied by the manufacturer, the consumer has the option to escalate the matter legally. This includes seeking assistance from a qualified lemon law attorney who can provide representation in arbitration or court proceedings against the manufacturer. Legal intervention may compel the manufacturer to settle or comply with lemon law requirements.

How do attorneys help in lemon law cases?

Attorneys specializing in lemon law cases guide clients through the complex process, ensuring that all documentation and procedures are correctly handled. They negotiate with manufacturers and represent vehicle owners in arbitration and court if necessary. Their expertise increases the likelihood of a favorable resolution for the client.

What are implied warranties, and how do they relate to lemon law claims?

Implied warranties, particularly the warranty of merchantability, suggest that a vehicle is fit for the general purpose for which it was sold. Even if not explicitly stated by the seller, this warranty applies. If a vehicle fails to meet basic standards of quality and performance, a consumer may file a lemon law claim for breach of implied warranties.

Are leased vehicles covered under lemon law in California?

Yes, in California, leased vehicles are covered under Lemon Law if they meet the same conditions applicable to purchased vehicles, such as being under warranty and having substantial, unrepairable defects.

What is the legal significance of the statute of limitations in lemon law cases?

The statute of limitations sets the timeframe within which a consumer must initiate a lemon law claim. In California, this period is four years from the date the owner first noticed the vehicle’s defect. Failing to file within this period may result in losing the right to claim.

What should a consumer collect and document when preparing for a lemon law claim?

A consumer should diligently collect all repair orders, service records, and communications with the dealership and manufacturer. Additionally, documenting the dates each problem occurs and repair attempts are made, including all related inconveniences and issues, is crucial for building a strong lemon law claim.

What if I made modifications to my vehicle?

If it is established that the modifications you made to your vehicle were the root cause of the defect, you will not be reimbursed for any associated expenses. In cases involving modifications, it becomes your responsibility to demonstrate that the alterations you implemented have had no adverse impact on the safety or functionality of your vehicle.