California Lemon Law News + Info

Can I file a Lemon Law claim for a vehicle that has been in a collision?

Has your vehicle experienced recurring problems either around or after the time of a serious collision? Whether your vehicle problems qualify as manufacturing defects under the California Lemon Law can be difficult for the average consumer to determine. For a vehicle problem to count as a defect, it has to impact your vehicle’s use, value or safety and seemingly be unfixable even after you have brought it to a repair shop for a reasonable number of repair visits. Figuring this out can get even more complicated when a vehicle’s accident history is involved.

Every consumer should know that a vehicle having an accident history does not automatically waive your lemon law rights. However, you should always talk to a lemon law attorney about your situation. The California Lemon Law places specific criteria on what issues count as defects. In certain circumstances, these criteria may allow an auto manufacturer to deny your lemon law claim.

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If A Vehicle Defect Appeared After A Collision

The California Lemon Law considers a vehicle a lemon if the following occurs:

  • A problem appears and it is covered by the auto manufacturer’s warranty,
  • The problem affects the use, value or safety of your vehicle, and,
  • The problem has not been fixed despite providing the dealership or repair shop a reasonable number of chances to fix the vehicle during the warranty period.

If a vehicle problem has occurred after a serious collision, that may complicate your eligibility for protection under the lemon law. The California Lemon Law does not cover vehicle problems caused by accidents, natural disasters or abuse, misuse or neglect of the vehicle.

If vehicle problems surfaced after a car accident, the auto manufacturer may try to deny your claim by stating that the car accident caused your vehicle problem. Your case may also be affected by the following: if the repairs adequately addressed problems caused by the accident, the nature and severity of the accident, who was at fault for the accident, what car parts were damaged, and which car parts are affected by or causing the potential defect.

In order to have a successful lemon law claim in this case, you would have to show that the potential defect was not caused by the car crash itself. This will be very difficult to do without the help of a lemon law attorney.

If A Vehicle Problem Caused The Collision

For a problem to be considered a manufacturing defect, it has to impact your vehicle’s use, value or safety. If a problem surfaces in your vehicle, your repair shop can’t seem to fix it, and it later leads to a car accident, it is reasonably intuitive to guess that your vehicle problem is impacting the use and safety of the vehicle.

That being said, collisions can generally make a potential lemon law case a little more complex.

When making a case for a potential lemon, you will need evidence showing that your vehicle problems could not be fixed within a reasonable number of attempts during the warranty period. Such evidence includes repair orders, which should show the concerns you reported regarding your vehicle, the dates and times of each repair visit, and the repairs attempted by your mechanic or technician. Not only that, you will likely need to show that the vehicle problem surfaced before the car accident took place.

If you have further questions, we recommend that you consult a lemon law attorney regarding your potential case.

Accident History Prior to Purchase

Purchasing a used vehicle with an accident history may complicate your eligibility for protection under the California Lemon Law. Generally, the California Lemon Law protects used vehicles if they were purchased from an authorized dealership and have a remaining manufacturer’s warranty.

If you purchased your used vehicle from a private sale or an auction, or if you purchased it without a remaining warranty, you are unlikely to qualify for lemon law protection.

An auto manufacturer may attempt to deny that your vehicle is a lemon on the basis that its problems were likely caused by previous collisions. If you bought a used vehicle with an accident history, and you suspect that it’s defective, we recommend that you talk to an attorney regarding your situation.

Consult a California Lemon Law Attorney

Determining whether a previous collision affects your eligibility for lemon law restitution requires a careful examination of your potential case. This includes the nature of your vehicle problems, the circumstances of the car accident, the vehicle’s history and other extenuating factors.

If you have had a collision and you suspect that your vehicle is a lemon, consult with our lemon law firm to better understand your legal options. Our lemon law firm can provide you with further information regarding your lemon law rights, review your paperwork and give you proper guidance. Call today at 877-222-2222.


Lemon Law Help by Knight Law Group is an automotive lemon law firm that exclusively practices in California. If you are a California resident who purchased or leased a defective vehicle from a licensed dealership in California, we may be able to help you get rid of your potential lemon and recover significant cash compensation. Model year restrictions apply: 2017–Present vehicle models only.

However, we cannot help those who reside outside of California or purchased their vehicle outside of California unless they are active duty members of the Armed Forces, nor will we be able to refer those to a lemon law firm in their states.

To learn more about the California Lemon Law and your legal rights, visit our guides on the California Lemon Law and Used Car Lemon Law for more information.

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