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Thousands of vehicles are shipped via freight every year throughout California. Whether you’ve purchased a vehicle from another state or ordered from an online dealership – there’s always the potential for damage while being shipped. 

No one wants to think about their car being damaged while in transit. It’s a stressful enough experience buying a car, let alone worrying about the condition it will arrive in. Fortunately, the lemon law in California is very consumer friendly. However, it generally applies to defects due to manufacturer error, not damage while being shipped. But there is still a chance you could be eligible for benefits.

So, is your car damage covered under the California lemon law? Here’s everything you need to know.

Understand Your Rights Under CA Lemon Law

When a defective vehicle shows up at your door, you must understand your rights under lemon law. This law protects consumers who have purchased or leased a vehicle that has one or more manufacturer defects. 

Keep in mind, most defects that would qualify the vehicle under lemon law would not be visible at a glance – as these typically pertain to mechanical issues. For the most part, dings, chips, scratches, cracked glass, and other non-mechanical issues would occur during shipping. Therefore, in most cases, typical body damage caused in transit will not qualify your vehicle as a lemon. 

Yet, there are some exceptions. For example, if a mechanical issue was caused in the factory before shipment, it may qualify as a lemon. The best way to know if your car qualifies as a lemon is to speak with a qualified CA lemon law lawyer. They will be able to review your case and let you know what options are available 

What to Do If Your Car Is Damaged While in Transit

If your car was clearly damaged while in transit, the first thing you should do is file a claim with the shipping company. Most vehicle shipping companies will have insurance covering vehicle damage while in their care. 

Sometimes, the shipping company may deny your claim or only offer partial coverage. If this happens, your next step is to file a claim with your insurance company.

If you have comprehensive coverage, your insurance will likely cover damage caused by an accident while your car is in transit. But insurance companies may only cover a certain amount of the damage if the shipping company is at fault.

It’s best to provide as much evidence as possible to support your claim. The more evidence you have, the better your chance of getting full coverage from your insurance company.

Gather Evidence to Support Your Claim

In some cases, the manufacturer might try to you the defect was caused by the shipping company. Yet the shipping company will tell you the defect was caused by the manufacturer. In this scenario, you might consider consulting a professional lemon law attorney to understand what to do next. Most lemon lawyers offer free consultations to discuss your options. 

Be sure you’re noting any strange sounds like engine knocking, whining, ticking, and so on. 

If the defect was clearly caused by manufacturer negligence, you’ll need to go through the CA lemon law process to earn compensation. Start by getting in touch with the manufacturer to request a warranty repair. You may only seek benefits under lemon law in California if:

  • The vehicle is covered under the manufacturer warranty when you report the defect: and 
  • The defect is substantial in that it impairs the safety, functionality, or value of the vehicle; and
  • The manufacturer has been given a reasonable number of repair attempts to fix the defect (usually at least two; or;
  • The vehicle has been out of service for 30 cumulative days for repairs; and 
  • The defect was not caused by driver abuse. 

If the vehicle meets these qualifications, a CA lemon law attorney can help you navigate the claims process and ensure you get the best possible outcome. Be sure to have all documentation, repair invoices, and receipts in order before reaching out to an attorney. They’ll need this information to assess your case and determine if you have a strong claim.

Wrap Up

Purchasing a defective vehicle is bad for everyone. Dealing with insurance companies and automakers can be a nightmare. Fortunately, you have options. If you believe your vehicle was damaged in transit, look into the shipping company’s insurance policies. This should be in the paperwork you filled out prior to the shipment. 

If you believe the vehicle was produced with defects, get in touch with a lemon law lawyer to guide you in pursuing justice. You should never have to suffer the consequences of another company’s negligence, whether it’s an auto manufacturer or shipping company.

We hope you found this blog post on Is Car Damage While in Transportation Covered Under CA Lemon Law? useful. Be sure to check out our post on Is Truck Driver Negligence Easy To Prove In Court? for more great tips!

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