Woman pushing broken car on road

What Happens After Winning Your Lemon Law Case? 

Ronald S. Weiss, Attorney  May 31, 2024

Winning your lemon law case is a triumphant victory, especially after the frustrations of dealing with a defective vehicle. While the exhilaration of winning your claim is undeniably satisfying, you might wonder what happens next and what type of compensation you're entitled to. Understanding the post-victory process is crucial to fully benefit from your success in a lemon law case.  

At Ronald S. Weiss, Attorney & Counselor, we have over 30 years of experience helping clients through lemon law cases. While we are located in West Bloomfield, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio, we handle cases throughout both states.   

Understanding Lemon Law

Lemon law cases are often initiated when a new car, still under warranty, exhibits significant problems that cannot be fixed despite multiple repair attempts. Lemon laws are designed to protect consumers who purchase defective vehicles that fail to meet quality and performance standards. 

These laws make sure that manufacturers are held accountable for providing faulty products and offer remedies for winning a lemon law case, such as a replacement vehicle, a refund, or monetary compensation. Winning your lemon law claim is an important step, but knowing your options and potential compensation is crucial to reach a satisfactory resolution for your case.   

Understanding Vehicle Buyback

A vehicle buyback means that the manufacturer will repurchase your vehicle for a full refund, including any additional expenses such as sales tax.  

The manufacturer will calculate the buyback amount, which typically includes the original purchase price of the vehicle, any incidental costs incurred due to the defect (such as towing and rental car expenses), and, depending on your state's law, the finance charges if the vehicle was financed. It’s essential to provide all receipts and documentation that support or provide proof of these costs. 

Depending on your state's law, the manufacturer may deduct a usage fee based on the number of miles driven before the first reported issue and the miles driven over a specified number. This usage fee aims to account for the time you were able to use the vehicle without problems. The deduction is generally calculated using a formula specified by state lemon laws. In Ohio, the manufacturer is not entitled to a mileage offset.

Once the buyback amount is agreed determined, the manufacturer will arrange for the surrender of the defective vehicle. You will be required to sign over the vehicle’s title, effectively transferring ownership back to the manufacturer. Be sure to verify that the settlement agreement clearly states all the terms and amounts to avoid any misunderstandings. 

Once the vehicle is surrendered, the manufacturer will issue the payment.

Understanding Vehicle Replacement

A replacement vehicle means that the manufacturer will provide you with a new, comparable vehicle to replace your lemon. The replacement should be of the same make and model and feature similar options and specifications to make sure the new vehicle meets the same standards and expectations as the one you initially intended to buy. 

Once the manufacturer makes an offer for a replacement vehicle, carefully review the terms and details. Pay close attention to the vehicle's features, warranty terms, and any additional costs that might be associated with the replacement.  

Generally, there should be no additional cost for the replacement vehicle, unless you opt for upgrades or extra features beyond those included in the original purchase. 

After accepting the replacement offer, coordinate with the manufacturer to schedule the exchange. You will need to return the defective vehicle to the manufacturer in the same condition as when the issues were first reported. This includes removing all personal belongings and addressing any damage that goes beyond normal wear and tear.  

When you return the defective vehicle, the manufacturer will deliver the replacement vehicle. Verify that the new vehicle meets your expectations and that all the agreed-upon terms are respected. Additionally, the manufacturer is also responsible for transferring all warranties and any applicable incentives or special offers you received with the original vehicle. 

Whether the manufacturer repurchases the vehicle or replaces it, in Ohio and Michigan, and many other states, that manufacturer must also include attorney fees with your settlement.

Additional Monetary Compensation

In addition or instead of a vehicle buyback or replacement, you may be eligible for additional monetary compensation to cover various expenses or damages related to your lemon, such as: 

  • Repair costs: Any expenses incurred for attempting to repair the defective vehicle that were not covered by warranty. This includes labor charges, replacement parts, and any other repair-related costs. 

  • Towing expenses: If the defective vehicle needed to be towed to a repair facility, the manufacturer may be required to cover these costs. Keep all receipts and documentation of any towing services. 

  • Rental car fees: The costs of renting a car while your vehicle was out of service for repairs. Keep a detailed record of the rental car expenses, including the length of the rental period and the daily rental rate. 

  • Incidental costs: Additional incidental costs such as storage fees and fuel charges for returning the defective vehicle may also be covered.  

  • Legal fees: Michigan and Ohio lemon laws mandate that the manufacturer covers all legal fees and court costs associated with pursuing the lemon law claim. This includes attorney fees, filing costs, and any other legal expenses incurred during the case. 

  • Damages: Apart from a repurchase or a replacement, the manufacturers often agree to pay financial settlements with the customer retaining possession of the vehicle. This works in some situations, but not others.

Considerations for Lemon Law Claims in Michigan

In Michigan, the lemon law typically applies to new vehicles that are still under the manufacturer’s warranty and have encountered defects that impair the vehicle’s use, safety, or value.  

Michigan lemon law typically covers new cars, trucks, and SUVs that have experienced warranty repairs for defects that initially appeared within the first year or 12,000 miles. The law does not typically apply to used vehicles, except when they are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.  

The manufacturer must also be given a reasonable number of attempts to repair the defective vehicle. Generally, Michigan law specifies that if the vehicle has been subjected to four or more repair attempts for the same issue, or if it has been out of service for a total of 30 days or more within the first year of ownership, it qualifies for lemon law coverage. 

Considerations for Lemon Law Cases in Ohio

In Ohio, the lemon law covers new passenger vehicles, SUVs, vans, and trucks that are still under the manufacturer's warranty and are less than one year old or have fewer than 18,000 miles on the odometer, whichever occurs first. Similar to Michigan, used vehicles are generally not covered unless they are still under the original manufacturer's warranty. 

Under Ohio law, a vehicle qualifies as a lemon if the manufacturer or authorized dealer is unable to repair the defect after a reasonable number of attempts. Ohio stipulates that the vehicle must have undergone at least three repair attempts for the same issue, eight repairs for different defects, one repair for a defect likely to cause death or serious injury or the vehicle was out of service for a cumulative total of 30 days or more during the first year of ownership or the first 18,000 miles, whichever comes first. 

Experienced Legal Counsel You Can Trust

Winning a lemon law case is a significant victory for protecting your consumer rights. Whether you opt for a replacement vehicle or a buyback, understanding each step of the process is important to help you make informed decisions. If you need assistance with your lemon law claim or require guidance on post-case processes, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.  

At Ronald S. Weiss, Attorney & Counselor, we are dedicated to ensuring you receive the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.