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How to Win a Lemon Law Case in California

How to Win a Lemon Law Case in California

If you think you have lemon and you’re wondering how win a lemon law case, this article is for you. Our law firm has experience reviewing over 40,000 inquiries, and a couple of the most common questions we get asked as California lemon law attorneys are:

  1. How hard is it to win a lemon law case?
  2. What happens if you win a lemon law case?

Here’s the good news – California has a very friendly lemon law in place to protect consumers who have purchased or leased a defective vehicle.

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know to win a lemon law case in California. We’ll help you understand your rights and provide you with the step-by-step knowledge you need to navigate the lemon law process successfully.

Give us a call or fill out the form below for help winning your lemon law case, fast and easy! ¿Hablas Español? Contáctenos ahora para recibir más información.

Understanding California’s Lemon Law

Understanding California's Lemon Law

What is a lemon?

The California Lemon Law states that a lemon is a vehicle that has significant defects affecting its safety, value, or usability. These defects must occur within a specified warranty period and must not be repairable after a reasonable number of attempts.

What vehicles are covered?

New and used cars under warranty. California’s lemon law, more formally referred to as the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, applies to new and used vehicles sold or leased with a manufacturer’s warranty. This includes cars, trucks, SUVs, RVs, boats and motorcycles.

3 Steps to Win a Lemon Law Case in California

3 Steps to Win a Lemon Law Case in California

Ready to file a California lemon law claim? Here’s what you need to know.

Step 1: Gather evidence and documentation

The first step to winning a lemon law case is to ensure your supporting evidence and documentation proves you purchased a lemon car.

What does this mean and what should you do? You’ll need to gather all relevant documents, such as purchase or lease agreements, warranty information, repair invoices, and records of communication with the car manufacturer or dealer. These documents will be crucial in building a strong case for your new or used car.

Step 2: Get repairs under warranty

In order for your car to qualify as a lemon, all repairs must be performed by an authorized dealership or repair facility. Repairs made by unauthorized facilities may not be recognized under California’s lemon law.

Step 3: Choose An Experienced Lemon Law Attorney

An experienced lemon law attorney can help you understand your rights and determine if your vehicle qualifies under California’s Lemon Laws. An attorney can also help you navigate the complex legal process and negotiate with the manufacturer to get you the best possible outcome. For example, our firm Cali Lemon Lawyers has experience reviewing over tens of thousands of case files and we have a 99% success rate in the claims we file.

The California Lemon Law Process

The California Lemon Law Process

Notifying the manufacturer

Once you’ve determined that your vehicle may be a lemon, it’s essential to notify the manufacturer in writing. This notification should include a description of the vehicle’s defects and a request for a replacement or refund.

Manufacturer’s response

The manufacturer has 30 days to respond to your request. They may offer a replacement, a refund, or a cash settlement. If the manufacturer fails to respond or refuses your request, you may proceed with legal action.

Arbitration, mediation or court

Before filing a lawsuit, some manufacturers require consumers to go through arbitration or mediation. This process involves a neutral third party who attempts to resolve the dispute without court intervention. However, you are not required to accept the outcome of arbitration or mediation.

Key Factors in Winning a Lemon Law Case

Key Factors in Winning a Lemon Law Case

Keeping detailed records

Meticulous record-keeping is crucial in proving your case. Be sure to document all repair attempts, communication with the manufacturer or dealer, and any expenses incurred as a result of the vehicle’s defects. This evidence will be vital in demonstrating that your vehicle is a lemon and that you have given the manufacturer a reasonable opportunity to remedy the situation.

Proving your case

To win a lemon law case, you must prove that your lemon vehicle has a substantial defect covered by the warranty, the manufacturer or dealer was unable to repair the defect after a reasonable number of attempts, and you notified the manufacturer of the issue. Strong evidence and documentation are crucial in proving these elements.

Understanding your rights

Knowing your rights under California’s lemon law is essential for a successful outcome. Familiarize yourself with the specific requirements and protections offered by the law, and consult with a skilled lemon law attorney to ensure that your rights are being upheld.

Selecting the Right Lemon Law Attorney

Choosing an experienced and knowledgeable lemon law attorney can significantly impact your case’s outcome. Look for an attorney who specializes in California lemon law cases and has a proven track record of success. A skilled attorney will help you navigate the legal process and advocate for your best interests.

What Happens When You Win A Lemon Law Case?

What Happens When You Win A Lemon Law Case?

If you win a lemon law case in California, the manufacturer is required to provide a remedy in the form of a refund, replacement, or cash settlement. Here’s what each option entails:

  1. Refund: The manufacturer must refund the full purchase price of the vehicle, minus a reasonable allowance for the use of the vehicle. The refund also includes reimbursement for sales tax, registration fees, finance charges, and other incidental expenses related to the purchase or lease of the vehicle.
  2. Replacement: The manufacturer provides a new, comparable vehicle as a replacement for the lemon. This option may be chosen by the consumer or the manufacturer, depending on the specific circumstances of the case. The replacement vehicle must be of equal or greater value than the defective vehicle, and any additional costs associated with the replacement, such as taxes and registration fees, should be covered by the manufacturer.
  3. Cash Settlement: In some cases, the consumer and manufacturer may agree on a cash settlement instead of a refund or replacement. This amount is usually negotiated between the parties and may vary based on factors such as the severity of the defect, the consumer’s willingness to accept a cash settlement, and the manufacturer’s assessment of the potential outcome if the case were to go to trial.

In addition to the above remedies, if you win a lemon law case, the manufacturer is typically required to pay for your attorney’s fees and court costs. This provision encourages consumers to seek legal representation and ensures they are not deterred from pursuing a lemon law claim due to the potential financial burden of hiring an attorney. Learn more about average lemon law settlements here.

How Hard Is It To Win A Lemon Law Case?

Winning a lemon law case in California requires a thorough understanding of the state’s lemon law, diligent record-keeping, and strong evidence to prove your case. By following the steps outlined in this article and working with an experienced attorney, you can increase your chances of a successful outcome and obtain the compensation you deserve.


  1. What types of defects are covered under California’s lemon law? California’s lemon law covers substantial defects that impair the vehicle’s use, value, or safety. These defects must occur within the warranty period and be unrepairable after a reasonable number of attempts.
  2. How many repair attempts are considered “reasonable” under California lemon law? The law does not specify a set number of repair attempts. However, it generally considers a vehicle to be a lemon if it has been out of service for at least 30 days or if the manufacturer has made at least two unsuccessful repair attempts for a defect that could cause death or serious bodily injury.
  3. Can I still file a lemon law claim if my warranty has expired? Generally, you can file a lemon law claim if the defect occurred within the warranty period, even if the warranty has since expired. Consult with a lemon law attorney to determine if your specific situation qualifies.
  4. Do I need a lawyer to file a lemon law claim? While you are not legally required to have a lawyer to file a lemon law claim, working with an experienced attorney can greatly increase your chances of success. An attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process and ensure your rights are protected.
  5. How long do I have to file a lemon law claim in California? California’s lemon law requires consumers to file a claim within four years from the date the defect was discovered. However, it’s best to pursue a claim as soon as possible to ensure you have the best chance of success.

California Lemon Law, Lemon Law Compensation

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