Over nine million drivers of diesel-powered vehicles can potentially receive compensation for their carmaker’s use of defeat devices to cheat regulatory emission tests, experts say. Car owners were allegedly deceived into believing that the vehicles they were purchasing were emissions-compliant. In reality, their diesel vehicles were high-polluting and contributed to air pollution more than they knew.
Diesel vehicles in England and Wales that were manufactured between the years 2007 and 2018 are mostly the ones affected.
Representatives from various law firms have been talking to car owners of affected vehicles so they can work together and bring forward a group claim against carmakers.
The manufacturers involved in the scandal include:
- the Volkswagen Group (VW and Audi)
- Daimler (Mercedes-Benz’s parent company)
- Land Rover
- Land Rover
A defeat device is engineered to sense when a vehicle is in the lab for regulatory testing. Once the test is in progress, the device automatically brings down emissions to within the limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO). This makes the vehicle appear fuel-efficient and eco-friendly during testing. However, when taken out of the lab and driven on real roads, the vehicle performs differently.
Out on real roads, the vehicle emits voluminous amounts of nitrogen oxides or NOx, a group of gases with dangerous implications for human health and the environment. Anyone exposed to NOx emissions can experience its health impacts, which can be life-threatening.
Drivers affected by the defeat devices can potentially each claim at least £12,000 in compensation experts sugget. The amount typically varies according to the circumstances of the case.
Why diesel emissions are bad
Diesel emissions have been a major issue for years and became one of the most talked about topics in 2015 after the Dieselgate scandal erupted. In September of that year, authorities in the United States found out that several Audi and Volkswagen vehicles were equipped with illegal defeat devices. This meant the vehicles were cheating on emissions tests.
As such, Audi and VW diesel vehicles with defeat devices are high-polluting and expose drivers and everyone around them to the dangers of nitrogen oxide emissions.
Volkswagen denied the accusations against them but said later that they knew about the defeat devices in their diesel vehicles. Other carmakers soon started getting involved in the scandal, including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Renault, and Vauxhall. The UK-based Vauxhall is the latest addition to the list.
These vehicles release high volumes of NOx emissions, which means they contribute to the current air pollution problem. NOx, which has nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as primary components, produces acid rain and smog, as well as ground-level ozone, a pollutant that makes vegetation susceptible to the effects of harsh weather conditions.
Breathing in toxic emissions, especially nitrogen oxides, may also trigger mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Cognitive health is also affected and as it weakens, dementia can slowly start to develop.
The health impacts of exposure to NOx emissions are nothing to laugh about – asthma, breathing difficulties, lung problems, emphysema, and other respiratory conditions can develop. In situations where the exposure is high, impacts can also be serious and life-threatening – asphyxiation, laryngospasm (or vocal cords spasm), certain cancers, and cardiovascular diseases.
Numerous reports and studies have also proven that NOx emissions – and air pollution in general – are linked to premature death. Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, a young girl who lived in south London in the UK, died in 2013 after an asthma attack. She walked to school almost every day and was exposed to high levels of NOx emissions. After an inquest, the coroner officially listed the cause of her early death as air pollution.
VW, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Vauxhall, and all the other manufacturers that installed defeat devices in their vehicles should be held responsible for their actions. These carmakers lied to customers and made them believe the vehicles they bought were high-performing and environment-friendly. Instead, the vehicles exposed drivers and everyone around them to dangerous diesel emissions.
This is why affected car owners are encouraged to bring forward an emissions claim against their carmakers. Many of the drivers have joined group litigations that are similar to class-action lawsuits. VW, Mercedes, and BMW have been paying fines, fees, and compensation since the defeat devices were first discovered in their vehicles. For Vauxhall drivers, however, the action is just starting. The Vauxhall emissions scandal is fairly new, so lawyers are still gathering carmakers interested in making a diesel claim.
How should I start my diesel claim?
The diesel claim process can be time-consuming but if you know what to prepare and do, things can be easier and more convenient. There are also emissions experts who can help you through the process. However, since it’s not all Vauxhall diesel vehicles are affected by the scandal, the first thing you should do is find out if you are qualified to make a claim.
It’s easy to determine your eligibility; all you have to do is visit the ClaimExperts.co.uk website and you’ll find all the information you need there. It’s the best thing to do if you want to start your diesel claim process right away.