In everyday language, the word presumption typically refers to something that is assumed to be true, and can be used as a foundation for other ideas, even though it is not known to be certain. In other words, you presume something to be true, even though you do not know for sure. In the legal world, a presumption is actually a rule of law that allows the court to assume something is true, because of evidence provided. A legal presumption is a fact or set of facts, combined with other information from a law, reasoning, or logic. For example, the legal system is supposed to assume that a criminal defendant is innocent of the charges against them, until the prosecutor can prove otherwise.
Legal Presumptions and Lemon Laws
Legal presumptions come into play when we are talking about lemon laws. In the state of California, it is assumed that a vehicle is a lemon if, in the first 18 months or 18,000 miles after the lease or purchase of the vehicle, it either:
- Has to be repaired two or more times for having serious safety defects that could potentially lead to serious bodily injury or death,
- Gets repaired four or more times for the same safety defect that is considered non-substantial, or
- Is not able to work or be driven due to defects for 30 or more days in total.
Again, a car is assumed to be a lemon if it falls under one of the categories mentioned above. The legal presumption is that if one of the above-mentioned scenarios occurs, the court should assume that the car is a lemon, regardless of any other information about the car. After the legal presumption is established, it is then the burden of the manufacturer to prove that the car is not, in fact, a lemon.
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You may be reading this so far and realize that your vehicle does not fit into any of the categories mentioned above. This only means that your vehicle will not be assumed to be a lemon. This does not, however, mean that you do not have a valid lemon law claim. Just because your specific situation does not fit into one of the categories of a legal presumption, it does not mean that you cannot show that your car is a lemon.
Under California lemon law, owners or lessees of vehicles have protection during the warranty period of the vehicle. If the vehicle has defects or needs repairs during the warranty period, it is most likely a lemon, and it could lead to a valid claim.
Unlike other states, California protects consumers against the possibility of used motor vehicles being sold on the market, with no notice from the previous owner about its history. Some states have found a way to alleviate this problem by requiring that the title of the vehicle is given to the purchaser. In other states, a notice that warns the new owner of any prior repairs or attempts to repair the vehicle by the manufacturer is required. The reasoning behind these notices to new buyers is that buyers should have the right to all relevant information that is considered when purchasing a vehicle. The fact that a car is a lemon or could be considered a lemon is a factor that, if known, would cause a buyer to make an informed decision to not purchase the vehicle and be stuck with the hassle.
It is important for vehicle owners to know where they can find out if they have a valid lemon law claim, because although the information can be researched, the law is very complex. A lemon law attorney can analyze the history of repairs on a vehicle and be able to determine if a particular vehicle is a lemon under California law. If you have a lemon vehicle, you may have a valid lemon law claim and could be entitled to relief. Call our office today to speak with an attorney who is knowledgeable about the law and your rights.