Californians who have a new vehicle that is covered by the original factory warranty, but are having serious reliability issues can file a lemon law claim. The lemon law allows you to have your car repurchased or replaced in cases where the defects are so serious that they affect the safety and/or value of the vehicle.
However, a successful lemon law claim must be filed within a certain period. How long you have requires a bit of explanation that we provide below. The good news is that the lemon law statute of limitations gives you years, not just months or weeks. That said, you are better off filing a lemon law claim through your personal injury attorney sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the higher the chance that you may not be able to file a claim at all.
First, it is important to know that consumers should not make an unreasonable delay in pursuing their lemon law claim. This is because for you to qualify for a buy-back, you must show that your vehicle has a defect that the dealership cannot repair, and one that affects its use, value or safety. Therefore, even though the statute of limitations may indeed allow you to wait to file the claim, you are advised to not wait any longer than necessary. Waiting until nearly the end of the statute of limitations may give the impression that the defect is not serious.
Four-Year Statute of Limitations Deadline
The California lemon law has a four-year statute of limitations. This is the final deadline. If it goes by, the laws of California will not allow you to make your lemon law claim. This is a fact no matter what the reason for delay was or what you did or did not know about the laws of California.
That said, exactly when the four-year clock begins to run is more of an open question. California courts have found that the statute of limitations start date is when you ‘ought to have known’ that your car qualified as a lemon.
For most Californians, the best way to figure this out is to talk to an experienced lemon law attorney like the ones at Neale & Fhima. We can help you to precisely determine when the four-year clock began to run in your case.
Think You May Have a Lemon?
If you think your vehicle could be a lemon and you want to make a lemon law claim, please contact the southern California lemon law attorneys at Neale & Fhima today. Our attorneys offer complimentary consultations. We will assess the seriousness of your car’s defect from a legal point of view. Also, our team will review the repair history of your car. If we think you have a strong case, we will tell you. If we think you do not, we will tell you that as well. Please contact our law offices today for more information.