Those who lease a car in California and many other states are protected by lemon laws. When a person leases a car, he or she has the right to drive the vehicle but does not own it outright. These laws are in place to ensure that a manufacturer will take back any vehicle that has a defect that cannot be fixed. Generally, if the defect could put a person's life at risk, only one attempt needs to be made to fix it before it is declared a lemon.
For less serious mechanical issues, whoever owns or operates the vehicle needs to make three attempts to fix the problem. Those who plan on trying to get a car declared as a lemon should keep records of the vehicle's specific issues and attempts to fix it. This is because the leasing company may not accept that the car is a lemon, which may mean that a person needs to file a lawsuit.
Those who have leased a defective vehicle may be able to recover any down payment made when the contract was signed. Furthermore, it may be necessary for the leasing company to reimburse the driver of a defective vehicle for the cost of any miles already driven. Other damages could apply depending on the facts of a given case.
Under federal lemon law, individuals who leased or purchased defective vehicles could be entitled to various forms of compensation. A lawyer may be able to review a case to determine the exact types of damages to which a person may be entitled. It is possible that a case will be resolved without the need to go to court. This may occur if a driver is able to gather evidence, such as attempts to repair the issue.