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What are the specific criteria for a ‘substantial impairment’ in New Car Lemon Law?

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What Are The General Qualifications Under the California Lemon Laws?

First, be aware that the Lemon Laws in California have teeth and can be of help, primarily when managed by a legal professional familiar with their substance.

So, if you have a new, used, or leased vehicle that continually has mechanical issues and recalls, these consumer protection laws are there to assist you in solving your problem.

However, before you can hold a manufacturer (or dealership) legally responsible for mechanical defects or any other problems, specific qualifications must be met to ensure that California’s lemon law can be used in your singular situation.

If your vehicle meets these criteria and qualifies, you may have the right to seek recourse or take even more substantial legal action.

However, the Lemon Laws are tricky, and it’s always in your best interests to have your case analyzed and drafted by an experienced San Diego Lemon Law lawyer. Doing so gives you the best chance of winning your Lemon Law case and resolving your issues.

That said, the general qualifications your vehicle must usually meet to be eligible under the Lemon Laws are:

  • Your car or vehicle must have a “substantial impairment” that affects its use, value, or safety.
  • A warranty must have covered these specific issues with your car.
  • You must have attempted to repair the vehicle multiple times, or the car must have been in the shop for an unreasonable time. 
  • The defects must have appeared within the manufacturer’s original warranty period.
  • You must not have caused the defect or issue due to abuse, neglect, or unauthorized vehicle modifications.

So, you see that these laws, although they exist for your protection as a California consumer, have caveats that must be met and are most efficiently used when managed by a detailed, experienced, and thorough legal professional.

How Do the California Lemon Laws Define “Significant Impairment?”

When you enter your Lemon Law case, you will find that “substantial impairment” is significant but is objective under the Lemon Law statutes.

Simply put, substantial impairment must affect your car’s general use, its value, or, of course, its overall safety when being used.

Since significant impairment is an objective test, your opinion is not very meaningful, and it would not be enough for you to testify in court that you believe the vehicle is unusable or unsafe.

Your experienced San Diego lemon lawyer will know how to approach this issue and present a validated case that shows that the defect impairs your vehicle’s safety, value, or functionality. These defects must be something that most people would think is unsafe.

Additionally, if the defect impairs and affects your car’s value, it also matters that a ”reasonable” person would typically agree with this assumption.

However, any defects that you might just find annoying (like loud wind noise, unknown “rattles,” or AC units that aren’t cold enough for you)) will not commonly qualify for lemon law coverage.  However, if these annoying defects are bad enough that most reasonable people would say they affect the value of your car, then you might be able to use them in a Lemon Law case.

You now may see that proper and legal expertise in drafting, managing, and presenting your Lemon Law case to the courts is a prime requisite to winning your case. Therefore, the help of a San Diego Lemon Lawyer will be invaluable.

Must My Vehicles Defect Involve My Safety to Qualify Under the Lemon Law?

Today’s cars, trucks, and SUVs weigh thousands of pounds and travel at extremely high speeds, so the physics involved in a crash is usually unimaginable.

Of course, numerous defects could “substantially impair” your automobile’s safety. However, no specific requirement under California’s Lemon Law states any defect must put you in immediate danger.

Actually, it is usually enough that the specific defect may render the vehicle unsafe in the foreseeable future.

A simple example of this defect would be that your car’s automatic outside adjustable mirrors constantly reset to their original settings. So, if these mirrors are performing unpredictably, they could cause an accident because of your inability to use them when you need to.

However, the safety of your vehicle is a significant target of California’s Lemon Law. If even the possibility of your defect makes the car unsafe, you most likely will have a valid Lemon Law Case.

What Should I Do If I Bought a “Lemon?”

Suppose you’ve purchased or leased a new or used car and continually have specific issues. In that case, the best thing to do is to get the opinion of a qualified San Diego lemon law lawyer so you can fully understand this subjective law and all your legal rights.

All car manufacturers and dealerships retain lawyers and almost always dispute lemon law claims. So, having a knowledgeable, aggressive, and experienced Lemon Law team on your side is critical to you winning your case.

That said, there are things you can do if you believe you have a severe defect that may qualify for a lemon law claim, such as:

  • Retain copies of all repair orders and ensure they precisely state the issues your mechanic identified and all the many steps they have taken to repair the problem.
  • Keep your file at home, and never rely on the dealership to handle your lemon law paperwork.
  • Schedule and obtain a free case evaluation from a qualified, aggressive, and experienced lemon law lawyer before pursuing any type of arbitration. If you begin any negotiation with the dealership or manufacturer before consulting with your lawyer, you could irreparably damage your chances of obtaining the total compensation you deserve under California’s lemon law.

I Believe I Have a Valid Lemon Law Case; What Should I Do Next?

Attempting to formulate and present a successful California lemon law case is a daunting task. To receive the full force of these consumer laws, you must enlist the help of an aggressive, knowledgeable, and thorough San Diego Lemon Law Attorney.

Each case differs, and in the end, winning your case will depend on your situation, vehicle, the severity of the problem, and the substantial skills of your lawyer.

Remember, you don’t have to “put up” with constant vehicle malfunctions and the constant stress these issues cause. Most credible Lemon Law firms will listen to your case and provide a free case evaluation, so you fully know your rights.

The San Diego Lemon Law Lawyers have a winning and lengthy history of fighting for consumer rights and getting their clients the compensation, safety, and peace of mind they deserve. Call them today at (619) 434-0819, and they will work tirelessly to help you resolve these stressful and costly vehicle issues.

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