The question of how long you have to file a California lemon law lawsuit has two separate components. There is an absolute limit imposed by the applicable statute of limitations, and there are also practical concerns regarding how delaying affects your potential lemon law case. Each is discussed below.
If you have any specific questions regarding whether you have a viable lemon law claim or how long you have to file a lemon law lawsuit in your particular circumstances, to be safe you should contact a lemon law lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case. That being said, the following are generally-applicable rules under California’s lemon law statute.
The Lemon Law Has a Four-Year Statute of Limitations
The applicable statute of limitations for lawsuits under California’s lemon law statute is four years. However, the question of when the four-year period begins to run can be a little complicated and uncertain. The lemon law’s statute of limitations does not begin to run at the vehicle’s sale or lease, or at the expiration of its warranty; rather, the four-year period begins to run when the automobile’s owner should know that his or her car qualifies as a lemon.
California’s Appellate Courts have interpreted the applicable statutory provisions to mean that a consumer should know that his or her vehicle qualifies for a lemon law buyback when he or she has reason to believe that the manufacturer either cannot or isn’t willing to repair an automobile’s defects.
Since this standard is somewhat imprecise, to be safe consumers should presume that the statute of limitations will likely begin to run after an automobile has two or three unsuccessful repair attempts for a defect that poses a serious safety concern and four unsuccessful repairs for defects that affect the owner’s use of the vehicle or its value.
Waiting to File Your Case Can Hurt Your Chances of Success
Notwithstanding the fact that California consumers are technically able to bring a lemon law claim any time prior to the four-year statute of limitations, consumers should not delay in bringing a claim.
The statute of limitation imposes an absolute time limit for bringing a claim, but does not guarantee that a claim within that period will be successful. In determining how long you will wait to bring a claim, it is critical to remember that in your lemon law case you and your attorney will need to satisfy the lemon law’s rules by proving that your vehicle’s defects substantially impair its use, value, or safety – and delaying in bringing a claim may support the manufacturer’s defense by making it look like the defect is not really that serious after all.
Accordingly, consumers who think their vehicle might qualify for a lemon law buyback should contact a qualified attorney immediately to discuss their potential case in order to preserve their legal rights.
Want to Talk to an Expert Lemon Law Lawyer?
At the Vachon Law Firm, we are experts in California lemon law and car dealer fraud lawsuits. We have knowledge, experience, and resources to evaluate your potential lemon law lawsuit and to litigate it effectively and with the utmost professionalism.
So call us today at 855-4-LEMON-LAW (855-453-6665) if you think that your vehicle might qualify as a lemon. You can also contact us via email. We’ll listen to your story, assess the automobile’s repair history and give you an honest assessment of your legal rights. Moreover, if you have a viable claim we typically represent consumers in lemon law cases on a contingency fee basis for no money down.
So call us today to learn more about your legal rights and what the California lemon law can do for you!
- Back to California Lemon Law Page
- Back to Lemon Law Attorney Home Page