Are Boats Covered under California’s Lemon Law?

Sailing is one of the most popular forms of recreation among California residents, and you probably have fond memories of the day you purchased the boat or yacht of your dreams. But what if your boat turns out to have the same problem again and again, no matter how many times you’ve taken it in for repairs?

Fortunately, California’s lemon law protects consumers just like you, who find that the safety or usability of their vehicle is seriously compromised. Most people assume that the lemon law only applies to automobiles, but it can also apply to boats, yachts, and other watercrafts.

If you believe that your boat is a lemon, please contact us to learn about your rights and legal options. The boats lemon law attorneys of Guardian are ready to represent you and fight for the compensation you deserve.

What Types of Boats are Eligible for a Lemon Claim?

Frankly, the term “boats” applies to all types of watercrafts that are sold throughout California, even those without motors. Watercrafts covered under the California boat lemon law include:

  • Sail boats
  • Fishing boats
  • Motorboats
  • Catamarans
  • Speed boats
  • Jet skis
  • Yachts

The lemon law has no restrictions on manufacturers, so you don’t have to worry about the maker of your boat. However, it’s essential to review the terms of your warranty and ensure that it covers the problem you are experiencing with your boat. If you have any questions about the eligibility requirements under the state’s lemon law, don’t hesitate to contact us. One of our attorneys is ready to assist you during a free case review.

How to Prove that your Boat is a Lemon

There are specific requirements that must be met before a watercraft can be classified as a lemon. Here is a list of the basic criteria:

  • You must have purchased or leased the boat from a dealership or manufacturer
  • The boat is covered under an active warranty
  • The warranty covers the boat’s defect
  • The defect must have a significant impact on the boat’s safety, use, or value
  • You have given the manufacturer multiple attempts to repair the boat 
  • You did not cause the boat’s defect via negligence or an accident

Keep in mind that all repair attempts must be made by a repair center that’s authorized by the manufacturer. Thus, if you attempt to repair the boat yourself, you can end up forfeiting your right to compensation. Furthermore, you must prove that the manufacturer had enough chances to fix the recurring defect. For an issue that’s serious enough to cause bodily injury or death, the problem must be fixed in one or two attempts. Otherwise, the manufacturer should be given at least 4 repair attempts. You can also proceed with a lemon claim if your boat has been out for repairs for a total of 30 days, which do not need to be consecutive.

It can be difficult to figure out the severity of a boat’s defect and the number of repairs you should allow before you proceed with a California lemon claim. Our knowledgeable attorneys can help you take the right steps towards a successful outcome.

What should I do if my Boat Turns out to be a Lemon?

Please take the following steps to protect your rights under the state’s lemon law:

  1. Stop using the boat.

Please refrain from operating the boat as soon as you suspect that it’s a lemon. This can be very dangerous, as any significant defect increases the chance of injuries to yourself, as well as your passengers. Additionally, you do not want to give the manufacturer an opportunity to accuse you of doing something that caused the boat’s defect.

  1. Check your warranty.

Make sure that the boat’s defect is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Many people make assumptions on what a warranty covers, but each manufacturer has specific stipulations that you must pay attention to.

  1. Contact the manufacturer.

Even if you’ve contacted the dealership, make sure to call the manufacturer. Otherwise, they can claim that they weren’t given the opportunity to resolve the defect, which can invalidate your right to a lemon claim.

  1. Gather your evidence.

Make sure to keep a record of all the work that’s been done on your boat (invoices, for example), along with written correspondence between you and the manufacturer. If you speak with anyone over the phone or in person, try to take notes on what was said while the conversation is fresh in your memory.

  1. Speak to a lawyer experienced in boat lemon laws.

In spite of your best efforts, the manufacturer may unjustly deny your claim or fight to reduce your payment as much as possible. Our lawyers will review your case and take the necessary legal actions to bring you justice.

Compensation from a Successful Lemon Case

The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, also known as the California lemon law, requires manufacturers to rectify a warranty-covered defect within a reasonable number of attempts. If they fail to do so, the consumer is entitled to a replacement item or a refund of the purchase or lease price.

Which option is right for you is largely a matter of personal preference, though there are pros and cons you should consider in order to make an informed choice. For example, if a boat is a vital part of your career, a replacement boat may be the better option, though keep in mind that you may not be offered the exact same model. The manufacturer only needs to offer you a new vehicle that is “comparable” to the original product. An attorney at our law firm can explain what this means in detail, along with other information that would be good for you to know ahead of time.

Our lawyers can also assist you if you’ve had an accident that was caused by your boat’s recurring defect. Based on your physical and emotional injuries, you may be entitled to personal injury compensation from the manufacturer. This can be a very complicated process, and help from an attorney is essential to recovering monetary damages like medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. To explore your available legal options, contact Guardian Lemon Law as soon as possible.

What is the Average Case Value of a Lemon Boat Lawsuit? 

Though many people ask us for an average value on these cases, each claim has its own set of circumstances that will determine what the consumer deserves. Of course, the purchase or lease price of your boat is a huge factor. But that may not be the only damages you are entitled to. If you sustained out of pocket expenses that were a direct result of your boat’s defect, the manufacturer may be required to reimburse you for those costs.

In some cases, the manufacturer is in direct violation of the state’s lemon law. If so, they may be ordered to provide you a civil payment, which can be double the amount of your damages from a successful claim. Thus, if you were set to receive $50,000 from your lemon lawsuit, you could receive an extra $100,000 if you are awarded a civil payment.

Finally, there is the possibility of bodily harm if you suffered an accident due to an issue that the manufacturer failed to repair on your boat. Personal injury claims can have significant values depending on the degree of injury and how they affect your life. Our lawyers have many years of experience with accident injury lawsuits, as well as California lemon law claims. We have what it takes to bring you the highest possible settlement if you are the victim of a defective boat, yacht, or any other watercraft.

How long do these Cases take to Settle? 

Just like case values, there are wide variations in the amount of time it takes to settle a lemon boat lawsuit. Some of our cases are settled within 1 to 3 months, while others take 6 to 12 months. A case timeline is impossible to predict ahead of time, but resistance by the manufacturer is one of the main reasons why it can take months to negotiate a fair settlement. This is particularly true in high value cases, like ones involving yachts or accidents that caused injury or death. Depending on the complications that are involved, these lawsuits can take two or more years to resolve.

What is the Deadline to File a California Lemon Case?

Legal actions pertaining to a lemon boat must be filed within 4 years from the time that you were aware of, or should have been aware of, a substantial defect with your boat. Generally, the statute of limitations begins on the date that you first experienced the defect with your boat. However, the starting point for the 4-year period may differ based on the type of vehicle and the language in your warranty.

Don’t worry if you’re confused about this, as it can mean different things based on your circumstances. Our lawyers can help you figure out the statute of limitations for your case and ensure that the necessary actions are taken before the expiration date. Call us today and schedule a free case evaluation.

Are You in need of a Second Opinion?

Many claimants who are in the middle of a case are not getting the advice and attention they deserve from their attorney. If you need answers to important questions about your legal rights, we are here for you with a free second opinion consultation. During this meeting, you can discuss your concerns with one of our legal experts, who will alert you to any red flags in your case. Options are available if you’re in this situation, like switching your lawyer and continuing your lemon claim with us. However, you should not take any action that you are not 100% comfortable with. There is no fee for the consultation either way, so please take the opportunity of calling us for a second opinion.

Speak to a California Lemon Law Attorney 

Guardian Lemon Law has the skill and experience you need if you’re stuck with a boat that keeps breaking down, no matter how many times you take it in for repairs. Our track record of recovering lemon payments speaks for itself, and you can count on us to fight for every penny you are owed.

No matter how much work is involved, you can rest assured knowing that our services are free to you. With the Zero fee guarantee, we only get paid by winning your case. In the event we don’t recover your settlement, you walk away with no responsibility for our expenses. To learn more about the ways we can assist you, contact our office and speak to a boat lemon law attorney.

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