Settling a Lemon Case: Important Steps to Take in CA
When California auto customers purchase defective vehicles that simply do not work, or “lemons,” they have the option of pursuing action under the lemon law. The California lemon law allows a customer to receive compensation from the auto manufacturer who sold a defective car. Some cars have poor designs, but any car model can be a lemon because any auto plant can have a bad moment.
Lemon Law Claims Process
As the lemon law in California allows successful claimants to recover attorney’s fees and costs, you should consult a lawyer before embarking on any lemon law claim.
In the conversation, the lawyer will review your history with the car. The lawyer will ask when and where you purchased the car.
He will ask about the repair history and the cost you have incurred. The lawyer will evaluate the merits of your case and answer your questions about the process.
After you consult with a lawyer, if your situation appears to have merit, the lawyer will file a claim under the lemon law.
The claim will state your side of the argument and demand compensation from the manufacturer. Auto manufacturers will usually defend a lemon law claim aggressively. If you have purchased a defective new car from a dealership, you should be sure to consult a lemon law lawyer Los Angeles and not pursue it alone.
Once the claim is filed, your lawyer will pursue settlement negotiations with the auto manufacturer.
These could be simple or protracted, depending upon the facts of the case and the determination of the auto manufacturer. If the negotiations aren’t successful, the case will need to be tried before a judge and a jury, but the vast majority of cases are settled out of court.
Duration to Settle a Lemon Law Lawsuit
In most cases, a lemon law lawsuit is settled long before trial. Negotiations depend upon the customer’s demand and the auto manufacturer’s determination to defend the suit.
Negotiations are highly fact-dependent. The objective of a settlement negotiation is to find a solution to the claim both parties believe is reasonable under all the circumstances.
Options to Settle a Lemon Law Lawsuit
There are several different options for settling a lemon law case in California. Each case is unique and must stand on its facts and merits. Settlements fall into three basic categories; repurchase, replacement, or cash and keep.
When a customer wins a successful trial under the lemon law in California, a manufacturer must pay the customer’s attorney’s fees and costs. This is a negotiating point in any settlement and a point to keep in mind when settling under California’s lemon law. Any settlement should specifically provide who will pay the court costs and the attorney fees.
In a repurchase settlement, the manufacturer buys the car back from the customer. The consumer turns the car into the manufacturer or a dealer and receives a cash payment.
This sort of settlement is most attractive if the car’s defects are essentially irreparable. Given the value of the car may be disputed, the lemon law settlement amount in a repurchase agreement may be highly variable.
In a replacement settlement, the manufacturer replaces the car. The customer turns the old car in and receives a different car from the manufacturer or, more likely, a dealer.
Under such circumstances, the customer may wish to have the replacement car thoroughly inspected by the dealer’s service department or some other mechanic to make sure that it’s free of mechanical defects. This settlement may be most attractive to a customer who still retains brand loyalty to the manufacturer or if the defective car is a “one-off,” and somehow unusual.
Cash and Keep Settlement
Cash and keep settlement under California’s lemon law allows the consumer to retain the car and also awards a certain amount of cash, determined through negotiations between the customer, their lawyer, and the carmaker. It may be a worthwhile option if the defects are comparatively minor, can be fixed, or are cosmetic.
An attorney can help you navigate the complicated issues of a lemon law case. A law firm can negotiate with the dealer and manufacturer on your behalf, relieving you of worry and concern.
If you believe you are feeling squeezed by owning a lemon of a car and need an experienced lemon law attorney Los Angeles, the Kaloustian Law Group can help you find the justice you deserve. Contact us today for a consultation.