Santa Ana Lemon Law
Santa Ana Lemon Law Attorneys
Santa Ana residents may buy or lease vehicles from nearby dealerships for personal reasons. Whether they need a reliable family car or a truck for their small business, determining a safe vehicle shouldn’t have to weigh heavy on them. However, many Santa Ana and Orange County residents are faced with conducting research and keeping an eye out for a sturdy and safe vehicle.
Yet everyone who buys or leases a new vehicle in Santa Ana has one thing in common: They trust and expect their new vehicle to run safely and reliably. When ongoing vehicle problems betray this trust, Santa Ana vehicle owners are left with severe problems.
If you’ve struggled to fix your vehicle’s problems but have yet to succeed, talk to an experienced Santa Ana lemon law attorney today.
Does My Vehicle Count as a “Lemon”?
California’s lemon law applies to vehicles purchased or leased at retail when the original manufacturer’s warranty or certified pre-owned (CPO) warranty still applies. The law covers many types of vehicles purchased for personal use and some small business vehicles. It even covers certain aspects of retail-purchased motor homes.
A Santa Ana small business may be covered by the lemon law if:
- The vehicle was purchased at retail, and the defects occurred during the original or CPO warranty;
- The vehicle’s curb weight is under 10,000 pounds; and
- The business owns five or fewer cars in total.
Used vehicles purchased from private sales, or that only have an extended service warranty are not covered by the lemon law. Owners of these vehicles may have other legal options, however. Speak to an attorney to learn more.
LA County Lemon Law Statistics
California’s Department of Motor Vehicles handles millions of vehicle registrations in Orange County annually. In 2021, the California DMV recorded over 2.8 millions vehicle registrations in Orange County. While most of these were renewals of existing registrations, many represented first-time registrations of new vehicles purchased or leased from dealerships.
Between 2018 and 2021, the California Department of Motor Vehicles received 7.6 million new vehicle registrations statewide. During that time, 34,397 lemon lawsuits were filed in the state’s courts.
While these cases represent the number of vehicle owners who needed to file a lawsuit to resolve their claim, they need to define the total number of lemons – or the total number of Californians who received compensation for lemon vehicles. Most lemon law cases are resolved without a court case. Experienced Santa Ana lemon lawyers work to win the compensation their clients deserve, both in and out of the courtroom.
Some automakers face more lemon lawsuits per vehicle sold than others. For example, between 2018 and 2021:
- Mazda Motor of America was named in one lemon lawsuit for every 1,571 cars sold.
- Subaru of America was named in one lemon lawsuit for every 880 vehicles sold.
- General Motors was named in one lemon lawsuit for every 78 cars sold.
These numbers need to reflect the instances in which the vehicle owner and automaker negotiated a settlement without going to court. However, when lawsuits are filed, some automakers are named more often than others.
When Lemon Law Does Not Apply
California lemon law covers vehicles purchased from manufacturers or dealerships. The lemon law doesn’t apply to all vehicle purchases nor to all possible types of damage or vehicle issues.
California lemon law won’t cover your situation when:
- You bought your vehicle in a private sale rather than from a manufacturer or dealership.
- Your original or CPO warranty has expired – even if you still have an extended warranty.
- Your vehicle is a small business vehicle, but your vehicle or the business doesn’t meet the requirements for companies in the state’s lemon law.
- Your vehicle’s problems were caused by use or abuse outside the average, expected use of the car you bought.
Do you suspect that the lemon law might not apply in your case? You may be somewhat out of luck. Other legal remedies may still apply to your situation. Talk to an experienced attorney for information regarding your specific case.
Filing a Santa Ana Lemon Law Claim
If you suspect your vehicle is a lemon, talk to an attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you understand how the process and compensation rules apply to your situation.
What compensation is available in a lemon law claim?
California lemon law allows vehicle owners to recover several different types of damages.
Replacement or Refund
The most well-known type of compensation in a lemon law claim is a replacement vehicle or a refund, whichever the vehicle’s owner chooses. Replacement vehicles must be substantially similar to the original lemon, while refunds are calculated according to a formula included in the lemon law statute.
Many vehicle owners focus on replacement or refund because their primary concern is getting a safe and reliable vehicle. This focus is understandable – but it is essential to keep it from overshadowing other valuable forms of compensation that the lemon law also provides.
Incidental and Consequential Damages
Incidental and consequential damages cover losses related to owning a lemon vehicle. Common types of incidental and consequential damages include:
- Towing costs to move a car to the shop after a breakdown;
- Costs of alternate transportation, like Uber fees, vehicle rental charges, or a bus pass; and
- Lost wages if you had to miss work to deal with your vehicle.
By saving receipts, towing bills, and other information related to your vehicle, you can help demonstrate the full extent of the losses you’ve faced while dealing with a lemon.
Attorneys’ Fees and Costs
If an auto owner wins their lemon law claim, California’s lemon law requires the automaker to pay that person’s attorney’s fees and costs. You don’t pay your lawyer when your claim succeeds – the automaker does. The automaker must also pay these amounts on top of what it owes you for the vehicle and any incidental or consequential damages.
To further help vehicle owners get trustworthy legal representation, many Santa Ana lemon lawyers work on a contingency basis. If they succeed, they’re paid by the automaker. If they fail, they don’t receive a fee. This arrangement encourages attorneys to fight for total compensation in each case. It also makes it easier for vehicle owners to choose an attorney without worrying about additional costs.
In some circumstances, if the vehicle owner or lessee can prove that the automaker willfully failed to buy back or replace a vehicle that qualified as a lemon under the law, then civil penalties may also be recovered. Civil penalties are in addition to other damages and can be up to two times the amount of actual damages.
Should I go through arbitration?
To protect themselves against lemon law claims, California automakers have worked together to build an arbitration process as an alternative to trial. In arbitration, a neutral third party, the “arbiter,” hears both sides’ arguments. The arbiter’s decision is often binding on both parties.
Arbitration can be a helpful alternative to trial in some legal cases. In lemon law claims, however, arbitration often ends with the automaker winning. Statistics demonstrate that arbitrators favor automakers even if the vehicle owner has a valid legal claim.
Experienced lemon lawyers know how the arbitration system works. They also know how to build, argue, and win a lemon law claim in court. An attorney can help you determine the best way to maximize your chances of winning your case and receiving the most compensation you are entitled to.
Contact an Experienced Santa Ana Lemon Law Attorney To Discuss Next Steps
Every Santa Ana driver deserves a vehicle they can rely on, especially when they buy or lease it under warranty. When your vehicle has ongoing problems, it can cause stress, sleepless nights, confusion, and difficulty meeting your obligations. Some vehicle problems can even put you or your loved ones at risk of a injury – all through no fault of your own.
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 determined as a lemon, we will take your case at no charge on a contingency fee basis. Wirtz Law APC provides one of the best Santa Ana Lemon Law attorney services everywhere in California, including Southern California, Northern California, Central California, and Eastern California.
Talk to the experienced Santa Ana lemon law attorneys at Wirtz Law APC today if you have a lemon on your hands. We’ll help you understand your legal options and choose the next step. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.
Over 97% Success Rate
In Lemon Law Claims
I first engaged Richard Wirtz for a personal civil matter involving a business partner in a real estate transaction. I was lucky enough to find Richard after working with a few other attorneys in the past. Richard was the only lawyer to come up with direct and clear-cut plans. He always kept me informed and…