Inland Empire Lemon Law

Inland Empire Lemon Law

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Inland Empire Lemon Law Attorneys

Inland Empire residents depend on having reliable vehicles. Every day, millions of residents, workers, and visitors in the Inland Empire use their cars to travel to work, school, run errands, attend recreational activities, and do other essential tasks. 

When a new or leased vehicle has ongoing problems, it becomes difficult to trust that it will be safe to drive. The uncertainty causes difficulty in making definite plans, increases stress levels, and potentially increases the risk of out-of-pocket vehicle expenses. In some cases, a vehicle’s issues may even pose a threat of death or serious injury to anyone who drives or rides in the vehicle.

If you have tried to get your vehicle’s problems fixed without success, talk to an experienced Inland Empire lemon lawyer today. The team at Wirtz Law APC is here to help. 

What is California’s Lemon Law?

California’s lemon law is included in the state’s Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. California’s lemon law provides certain rights and means of compensation for vehicle owners when a Southern California dealership can’t fix a new vehicle’s problems within a reasonable number of attempts. 

California’s lemon law applies when:

  • A vehicle is purchased or leased at retail; and
  • An original manufacturer’s warranty or certified pre-owned (CPO) warranty applies. 

In addition, vehicle owners must demonstrate that they attempted to have the vehicle fixed, at least two times. The defects must also substantially impair your use, value, or safety of the vehicle.

The lemon law applies to nearly all vehicles purchased for personal or household driving. It also applies to some small businesses in the Inland Empire. The state’s lemon law covers a small business if the vehicle is under warranty and both of the following conditions apply:

  • The company owns no more than five vehicles total; and
  • The suspected lemon vehicle weighs less than 10,000 pounds empty.

The lemon law also applies to several components of retail-purchased motor homes, including a chassis and cab. 

Los Angeles County Lemon Law Statistics

Los Angeles County is California’s busiest county for vehicle registrations. In 2021, the California Department of Motor Vehicles logged 7,989,032 vehicle registrations in Los Angeles County. These numbers included registrations for cars, trucks, trailers, and motorcycles. 

The DMV’s numbers include both registration renewals and new, first-time registrations. According to the California Public Interest Research Group, approximately 7.6 million new vehicles were registered in California between 2018 and 2021.

Less than one-half of one percent (0.5%) of all new registrations in 2018 through 2021 ended up in a lemon law case. Yet most lemon law cases don’t appear on court records because they are never filed in court. Instead, these claims are settled, often with the help of an experienced Inland Empire lemon lawyer. 

Some automakers are named in lemon law claims more often than others. Research by the California Public Interest Research Group found that between 2018 and 2021:

Other automakers’ names appeared far less often. Toyota Motor Sales, for instance, was named as a defendant in one lemon law claim for every 2,029 vehicles sold in California between 2018 and 2021. 

These numbers don’t reflect the claims settled before a lawsuit was filed. However, they indicate that some automakers are more likely to face a lemon lawsuit than others. 

The Exceptions to California’s Lemon Law

California’s lemon law only applies in some situations. For instance, the lemon law won’t apply when:

  • The problems with the vehicle were caused by abuse or by use outside the average, expected use of the vehicle.
  • The vehicle’s original or CPO warranty has expired. An extended third party warranty, also known as an extended service contract, isn’t enough to trigger California’s lemon law.
  • The vehicle was purchased in a private sale rather than from a manufacturer or dealership. 
  • The vehicle belongs to a business, but the company or the car doesn’t meet the small business requirements in the state’s lemon law. 

Vehicle owners who can’t seek remedies under California’s lemon law may still have other legal options. It’s essential to speak to an experienced lawyer. An attorney can help you determine your options and what to do to protect your rights. 

Filing an Inland Empire Lemon Law Claim

Under California lemon law, vehicle owners can bring their claims against automakers. Doing so, however, can be challenging – and it may not end with the best results. Working with an experienced lemon car lawyer is the best way to fight for the total compensation you’re due under the lemon law. 

Seeking help doesn’t have to cost you anything out of pocket. California organizes compensation in lemon law claims into three categories: A refund or replacement vehicle, incidental and consequential damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs.

The refund or replacement vehicle is the most well-known type of lemon law compensation. An auto owner who succeeds in their claim may receive either a “substantially similar” replacement vehicle or a refund of the purchase price, calculated according to a formula in the lemon statute. 

How Incidental and Consequential Damages Apply in an Inland Empire Lemon Law Case

The lemon law also allows vehicle owners to recover the second type of damage, “incidental and consequential damages.” These are losses related to your ownership of a lemon vehicle that isn’t included in the refund or replacement. For instance, if you’ve racked up hundreds of dollars in towing costs due to multiple vehicle breakdowns, these towing costs may be covered by incidental and consequential damages. 

One of the best ways to help build your claim for incidental and consequential damages is to safely keep all the paperwork related to your vehicle and its problems. Keep copies of all your receipts, bills, and other information. These documents can help demonstrate that you’ve lost more than just the use of your vehicle. 

Finally, California lemon law requires the automaker to pay attorney’s fees and costs for the vehicle owner if the owner wins their lemon law claim. Attorney’s fees and expenses are paid in addition to any incidental damages or refunds you receive. 

Many experienced lemon lawyers also work on a contingency basis. If they win, the automaker pays their fees and costs. If they lose, they don’t receive a payment. Contingency arrangements encourage attorneys to think strategically about winning each case and make it more affordable for vehicle owners to obtain legal help. 

Should I consider arbitration?

In arbitration, a neutral third party (the “arbiter”) hears both sides’ arguments and issues a decision. Often, that decision is binding on both sides. 

In this way, arbitration is similar to a courtroom trial. However, arbitration is typically more streamlined than a trial and involves slightly different rules for presenting evidence. 

Arbitration was developed as an alternative to trial, intended to save time and money. In some court cases, arbitration remains a valuable way to help settle claims. As automakers have invested their time and efforts into building a lemon law arbitration system, that system has become skewed in favor of the automakers. Statistics show automakers often win lemon law claims that go to arbitration, even if the vehicle’s owner has a valid case. 

Contact an Experienced Inland Empire Lemon Law Attorney To Discuss Next Steps

If you suspect your vehicle is a lemon, don’t wait: Contact an experienced Inland Empire lemon lawyer today. At Wirtz Law APC, our legal team has helped many vehicle owners get the compensation and peace of mind they deserve. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.

If you are fed up, have had enough, and think your car is a lemon, call us at (858) 259-5009 for a free evaluation. If your vehicle is a lemon, we will take your case at no charge to you on a contingency fee basis. Wirtz Law APC provides one of the best Lemon Law attorney services everywhere in California, including Southern California, Northern California, Central California, and Eastern California.

Our team has a well-earned and well-deserved reputation as motor vehicle consumer advocates. If you suspect your vehicle qualifies as a lemon under California lemon law, contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation and learn more about your legal options.

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