Lemons can happen to anyone, and often times having a lemon law claim is someone’s first experience with the legal system. Now this might be shocking but hiring an attorney isn’t going to magically solve all of your problems immediately. There is plenty of work your attorney will need to do to make the magic happen, and there’s generally a process that goes along with it. If you’re anything like me, I need to know what exactly I’m signing up for before moving forward with something so here’s the general timeline and process that goes along with hiring an Orange County lemon law attorney to handle your lemon law case.
Step One: Case Initiation
Your lemon law attorney will draft the lawsuit (also called a Complaint) and get it filed with the court. Once the lawsuit is filed, process servers will serve each defendant (usually the manufacturer of your vehicle and he dealership that sold it to you). This process can take up to two weeks.
Step Two: The Answer
Each defendant has 30 days from when they are served with the lawsuit to respond. Their response is called an “Answer” that they file with the court denying everything. The defendants denying everything is normal, and the good news is your attorney will now know what law firm and attorney is going to be representing the other side so the real work can begin.
Step Three: Litigation
This is the “meat and potatoes” portion of any case. During the litigation process both sides will try to get information about the case from each other using written discovery, depositions, and vehicle inspections. This process can take several months.
Step Four: Settlement
Most lemon law cases settle before trial. It can take anywhere from 30-60 days for car settlements and anywhere from 30-90 days for RV settlements to be completed. You will know the exact timing of your particular settlement when you sign the settlement agreement but if it’s unclear for any reason, do not sign anything until that is clear. Settlement timeframes are important because the numbers change daily. Every day your loan is not paid off it is accruing interest and you will continue making payments during the settlement period so your credit isn’t negatively affected, so it’s important to have an Orange County Lemon Law Attorney that truly understands how these settlements should work so that you get every penny you’re entitled to.
Step Five: Trial
If your case is in the minority of lemon law cases and does not settle, you’ll be going to trial. Lemon law trials usually last 5-7 days, depending on the complexity of your case and the courtroom’s schedule. Courts across California are trying to adapt to the obstacles brought by COVID-19 so having a jury trial for a lemon law case filed after the COVID-19 shutdowns anytime soon is very unlikely. In the pre-COVID-19 era, trials were generally set 12-18 months from the date the case was filed, but now we’re seeing those timeframes nearly double so it will be interesting to see how things continue to play out with the courts and jury trials.
If you have any questions or would like more information about The Lemon Law Process, contact your Orange County Lemon Law Attorney at West Coast Lemons for a free consultation at 714-804-5546 or fill out the contact form on our website and an Orange County Lemon Law attorney will get in touch with you.