California Lemon Law Attorney Explains the Applicable Statute of Limitations

Skilled Lawyer Discusses California Lemon Law Statute of Limitations

lemon law statute of limitationIt can be easy to put off filing a California Lemon Law claim, especially if you have an alternate means of transportation. After all, dealing with a vehicle that repeatedly breaks down can be overwhelming, stressful, expensive, and frustrating. Unfortunately, it may feel like filing a claim regarding your lemon will be even more of a headache.

However, if you do not file your claim, you will not receive justice or compensation from the manufacturer, and you will only be able to replace your vehicle at your own personal cost. And if you wait too long – past the legal statute of limitations – you will never have the chance to get a refund or replacement, even if you were right all along.

Attorney Doug D. Law is here to help you ditch your lemon – and get the compensation that you deserve for dealing with a defective and possibly dangerous vehicle. Our legal team understands that you have been through an extremely frustrating experience, and we are here to take the burden of your lemon case off of your hands. Filing your claim quickly is important – and filing your case before the statute of limitations runs is absolutely vital.

To learn more about our legal services, to ask a question about your lemon, or to request a free case review, please contact us today. We invite you to write us using our quick online form or to call our toll-free number at (888) 246-0276.

What Does “Statute of Limitations” Mean?

The length of time a consumer has to bring an action or a claim against a manufacturer is commonly referred to as the statute of limitations. This is designed to prevent false or old claims from being filed after relevant evidence has been lost or the facts of the case have become diminished by time, memory, or incapacitation of a witness. The limitations can be asserted as a defense to a lawsuit by the party that a lawsuit or claim has been brought against. What that means for consumers is that any claim against a manufacturer must be brought within this time frame or the manufacturer can raise this as a defense and your lawsuit will likely be dismissed.

The statute of limitations is different for each cause of action, or reason for the lawsuit. For example, the time limits to file a personal injury claim may be different from the time limits to file a wrongful death claim. The legislature of the state of California defines each statute by cause of action and defines these time limitations within our laws.

The California Lemon Law Statute of Limitations

The applicable time limits for lemon cases in California is four years from the date that:
  • the consumer knew or should have known that the product was defective, and
  • that the manufacturer was unable to fix the defect.

The standard courts use to determine whether a lemon law consumer should have known about a vehicle defect is called the reasonable person standard. This means that courts consider whether a reasonable person in the consumer’s position should have known about a material defect and that the manufacturer was unable to fix the defect. Accordingly, the four-year time limits applicable in lemon cases is not a clearly defined four years – and it leaves room for argument from both the consumer and the manufacturer about when the time limit began to run.

The type of lawsuit that will be filed by the consumer’s lemon law attorney is known as a lawsuit for breach of warranty. The consumer is asking a judge or arbitrator to review the circumstances of their purchase and determine whether the defect in their product is one that is covered under the express written warranty provided at the time the product was purchased. It is important to note that a lawsuit must be filed with a court before the expiration of the statute. Consumers often file a claim with the manufacturer itself in an attempt to avoid litigation, but filing a claim with a manufacturer will not stop the time from running on the lemon law time limit.

Why It Is Beneficial to File Your Lemon Claim Now

Although there is a four-year statute of limitations for lemon law cases, it is important to act immediately upon discovering a potential claim. Why is this the case? Here are a few reasons:
  • The sooner you act, the easier it is to find evidence to prove your case from records and receipts to testimony from mechanics or dealers if necessary. If you wait four years, tracking down the solid proof that you need to get your vehicle declared a lemon becomes more and more difficult.
  • Until you file your lemon case, you are stuck with a lemon, and we know that lemons can make your life exceedingly difficult, whether or not you have another means of transportation. You could be wasting money on costs like auto insurance, parking fees, storage fees, or worse – on continuing to take your car into the shop repeatedly.
  • Your lemon could be dangerous. In a significant amount of cases, defective cars pose a threat to the people who drive them, their passengers, and even cars and pedestrians around them. If your car is defective in a way that affects the safety of the vehicle, you should act as soon as possible to get it refunded or replaced.
  • Because the “reasonable person standard” does not result in a clearly defined date in many cases, a manufacturer could claim that the time limit has already passed–and that you can’t file a valid claim because you waited too long.
  • Because you have to file a claim with your manufacturer before you file a lemon claim in court, there is a variable amount of time between when the manufacturer receives your claim and when they deny it. This means that if you wait too long to file with your manufacturer, you may miss the window to file in court.

What If You Don’t Know If You Have a Valid California Lemon Law Case?

When we talk to the owners of lemons, one excuse they often have for delaying their case is that they weren’t sure whether or not they had a lemon on their hands. Take it from us: you don’t know whether or not you have a lemon because it is uncommon for regular California citizens to know about the details of their state’s lemon laws. The single best way to find out whether or not you have a lemon, and whether or not you should file a lemon claim, is to talk to a skilled, knowledgeable California attorney.

Make An Appointment With An Experienced California Lemon Law Attorney Today

Even though there is a four-year time limit attached to every lemon claim, taking action now means getting rid of that lemon – and getting the replacement or reimbursement that you need to get on with your life. At our law firm, we are committed to helping families ditch their lemon and get justice, starting today.

Contact us to speak to an experienced California lemon lawyer if you feel you potentially have a claim under California’s Lemon Law. You can schedule a free, private consultation with someone who can help. And remember: we only get paid if you do.

What Our Clients Say


"Doug and Kristen were invaluable in getting GM to repurchase my Corvette due to the driveline defects in the car that Chevrolet could not fix after 9 visits. GM and the Chevy dealerships in La Mesa and Mission Valley were not helpful, giving me absurd excuses, runarounds and one time ultimately refusing to write the defects up after demonstrating them to one of their technicians. In short, I highly recommend them to handle any lemon law case you may have."

- Anonymous


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