Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA
Updated on: 1/24/24
Overview of How Long California Lemon Law Cases Can Take
|Complexity of Case
|Timeline to Settle
|Approximately 2 months to 6 months
|Approximately 6 months to 1 year
|Approximately 1 year to 2+ years
In general, a California Lemon Law case can take anywhere from several weeks to several months to resolve. The length of time it takes to resolve a California Lemon Law case can depend on several factors.
One of the most important factors is the complexity of the case. If the case involves multiple defects or issues, or if there are disputes about the nature or cause of the defects, it may take longer to resolve.
What Factors Affect How Long My Lemon Law Claim Will Take?
Several factors can affect the length of time it takes to resolve a Lemon Law claim. The complexity of the case, the cooperation of the manufacturer or dealer, and the specific legal procedures involved are some of the most important factors.
If the case is straightforward and there are no disputes about the nature or cause of the defects, it may be resolved relatively quickly. On the other hand, if the case involves multiple defects or complex legal issues, it may take longer to resolve.
The cooperation of the manufacturer or dealer is also crucial. If they are willing to work with the consumer and promptly respond to requests for information or documentation, the case is likely to be resolved more quickly. If the manufacturer is unresponsive or uncooperative, however the case may take more time.
How Do You Know If Your Car is a Lemon Under California Law?
Under California law, a car is considered a lemon if it has a substantial defect or recurring problem that cannot be repaired after a reasonable number of attempts. The California Lemon Law applies to new and used vehicles that are still under warranty, including cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, and RVs.
To determine if your car is a lemon under California law, you must meet certain requirements. The defect or problem must be covered under the warranty, and the manufacturer or dealer must have been given a reasonable number of attempts to repair it. Typically, this means three or more repair attempts or the vehicle being out of service for a cumulative total of 30 days or more.
Can a Lemon Law Attorney Reduce the Timeline of My Case?
Yes, a Lemon Law attorney can help reduce the timeline of your case. An experienced attorney understands the legal process and can navigate it efficiently to help you obtain a resolution as quickly as possible.
One of the ways a Lemon Law attorney can help reduce the timeline is by ensuring that all necessary documentation and information is gathered and organized in a timely manner. This includes repair invoices, work orders, service reports, and any other relevant documents. Having a complete and well-organized file can help expedite the review and evaluation of the case by the manufacturer or dealer.
Example Timelines of Recent Clients
1.) 2021 GMC Sierra – 2.5 months
Here we successfully resolved this matter through informal negotiations with General Motors. The duration of the case spanned approximately 2.5 months, starting from the initiation until the point of surrendering the vehicle. The core complaint centered around persistent noise and vibration originating from the suspension system.
Despite multiple attempts to address the issue through warranty repairs, the problems remained unresolved. Through constructive discussions, General Motors agreed to repurchase the truck from the consumer. Furthermore, they reimbursed all the expenses incurred by the consumer, with the exception of a usage fee, and covered the consumer’s attorney fees and associated costs.
2.) 2021 Volkswagen Jetta – 2.5 months
In this prelitigation case, we achieved a resolution through informal means with Volkswagen. The entire process took approximately two months to reach a satisfactory outcome. The case revolved around recurring issues with the vehicle’s transmission, such as lurching, erratic RPM fluctuations, grinding noises, and various other complaints.
Through negotiations, Volkswagen agreed to a favorable settlement known as “cash and keep,” whereby the client retained possession of the car. Additionally, they received monetary compensation, covering both their attorney fees and associated costs.
3.) 2019 Nissan Rogue – 4 months
Our client opted not to pursue a lawsuit and successfully resolved this case informally with Nissan North America. The case lasted approximately 4 months, starting from its inception until the point of surrendering the vehicle.
The primary concerns revolved around persistent electrical defects. The windows would frequently become stuck, preventing them from rolling up or down, while the radar system exhibited significant malfunctions.
The automatic emergency braking system would engage randomly, even when there were no obstacles present. Additionally, the car would unexpectedly come to a halt while driving, accompanied by the “malfunction” and “front radar disabled” warning lights flashing. Despite multiple attempts to address these complaints through warranty repairs, the issues remained unresolved.
Following negotiations, however, Nissan agreed to repurchase the car from the consumer. They also reimbursed all the expenses incurred by the consumer, excluding a usage fee, and assumed full responsibility for covering the consumer’s attorney fees and associated costs.
4.) 2019 Chevrolet Silverado – 14 months
In this litigation case, we pursued legal action and successfully resolved the matter with a repurchase settlement and civil penalties. The case lasted approximately 14 months, involving repetitive warranty repairs for a persistent issue known as the ‘Chevy Shake.’
The truck experienced recurring instances of excessive shaking, trembling, and vibrations. Through the course of the legal proceedings, General Motors agreed to repurchase the truck from the consumer.
Furthermore, they refunded the consumer’s down payment, monthly payments (after deducting a usage fee), and incidental expenses (including rental car receipts due to the lemon status of the vehicle).
In addition to compensating the consumer for their actual damages, General Motors provided civil penalties as further damages. Moreover, they covered 100% of the consumer’s attorney fees and associated costs.
5.) 2020 Nissan Sentra – 16 months
Here, we initiated legal proceedings and achieved a successful resolution entailing a repurchase arrangement and civil penalties. The case extended over a period of approximately 16 months, revolving around recurring warranty repairs for a defective CVT transmission. The consumer encountered issues such as delays in acceleration, thumping sensations upon acceleration, and lurching.
Through negotiations, Nissan agreed to repurchase the car from the consumer. Additionally, they reimbursed the consumer for all expenses incurred on the vehicle and waived the usage fee.
In a notable gesture, Nissan also agreed to provide the client with civil penalties exceeding the amount of the consumer’s actual damages. The manufacturer also assumed full responsibility for paying 100% of the consumer’s attorney fees and associated costs.
Contact Our Lemon Law Attorneys
The Lemon Law Experts are dedicated to helping consumers who have purchased or leased a defective vehicle. We understand the frustration and inconvenience that can come with owning a lemon, and we are committed to protecting your rights and obtaining a fair resolution.
Our attorneys have years of experience in handling Lemon Law cases and are familiar with the nuances of California Lemon Law. We work closely with our clients to evaluate their case, gather all necessary documentation, and negotiate with the manufacturer or dealer to obtain a refund, replacement vehicle, or cash settlement.
Our team can help you understand your rights under the law, negotiate with the manufacturer or dealer on your behalf, and file a lawsuit if necessary. Our goal is to provide you with the legal support you need to get both the compensation and justice you deserve, as quickly and efficiently as possible. Contact us for a free consultation to see how we can help you with your Lemon Law case today.