While each lawsuit filed under the lemon law is considered on a case by case basis, it is possible for an attorney to successfully argue a legal claim based on this section of California law when an auto repair shop fixes some of the consumer’s car problems but leaves others. Under the lemon law, manufacturers are responsible for fixing serious defects or flaws in vehicles that they have manufactured or, if the auto repair shop cannot adequately address the car problems, the manufacturer must compensate the consumer for the defective vehicle. But, because the manufacturer is afforded a reasonable number of tries to fix the vehicle’s flaws, and what is considered “reasonable” can be easily debated among attorneys, the number of times a consumer must take their car in can be misleading. And, should a vehicle have multiple problems or defects, it is likely that the consumer may have more questions than they do answers.
Often, consumers will consult with an attorney because their vehicle is exhibiting multiple car problems that the auto repair shop has been unable to address. Hopefully, the consumer will have begun keeping track of each time they took their car into the auto repair shop and noted on each occasion the car problems being addressed. After the attorney reviews the consumer’s personal records pertaining to each auto repair attempt, the repair technician’s repair orders, and any receipts the consumer saved, they will be able to appropriately advise the consumer as to which car problems present a valid claim under the lemon law. The attorney is then able to file a lawsuit on the consumer’s behalf advising the court of the problems the car has had and that remain unaddressed. If, at some point during preparation for the lawsuit or during litigation itself, some of the car problems are able to be resolved but others remain outstanding, the attorney can continue with the lemon law claim because the consumer has a right to a vehicle free from material defects.
Ultimately, the judge presiding over the consumer’s legal claim will have the final say on whether the manufacturer has had a reasonable opportunity to perform the necessary auto repairs on the consumer’s vehicle. To avoid any claims of vehicle abuse, attorneys usually advise consumers to consult their new car warranty to see whether they are required to take their car into an authorized auto repair shop should their vehicle require repairs. Because the lemon law provides that a consumer’s lawsuit could be dismissed because of claims of abuse, it would be prudent of the consumer to only take their vehicle to approved auto repair shops.
Because the lemon law presents many debatable issues, and because having a reliable car is so important to most consumers’ every day lives, hiring an attorney who is experienced in litigating cases involving multiple car defects can have a vast impact on the consumer’s future. To take the first important step in securing legal relief under the lemon law, consumers should find a dedicated attorney to zealously advocate on their behalf.