Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz are two of the car manufacturers that are usually connected with the 2015 Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal. Over the years, both carmakers have had to deal with thousands to millions worth of fines and compensation while also facing class-action lawsuits and group litigation. Thousands upon thousands of their affected diesel vehicles have also been recalled.
In May this year, after settling a diesel emissions case with a High Court in England, Volkswagen agreed to pay over 90,000 disgruntled drivers whom they deceived and lied to. The German manufacturer has spent approximately £26 billion in civil settlements, fines, buyback schemes, and emission compensation worldwide.
Volkswagen representatives did not see the settlement as an admission of their guilt; they just chose the most practical action for the company. If they went through the 6-month trial in England, they would have to face endless legal costs. Nevertheless, the carmaker issued a statement that contained their apology to their customers. They apologised to the affected drivers for fitting their EA189 diesel vehicles with defeat devices. Volkswagen promised to regain the trust and confidence of customers in Wales and England.
Legal representatives of the thousands of customers that VW deceived were satisfied with the settlement. They believe it was the best option because it prevented the need for a complicated, challenging, expensive, and lengthy trial procedure.
The emission claim trial was supposed to begin in January 2023 and would have been the UK’s biggest Dieselgate claim ever. Drivers who filed the group claim did so because they believed Volkswagen’s use of defeat devices proved the carmaker lied to them regarding the vehicles’ sustainability, which had a significant (and negative) effect on the vehicles’ value.
The VW Dieselgate scandal
Before a vehicle can be put up for sale, it has to pass a regulatory emissions test. The Dieselgate scandal saw Volkswagen cheat such tests after US authorities found defeat devices involved in the diesel vehicles they sold across the United States.
A defeat device is programmed to detect when a vehicle is in the lab for emissions testing. Once the test is detected, the device automatically and artificially reduces emissions levels so these stay within the limits regulated by the World Health Organization (WHO).
When the vehicle is brought out of the lab and driven in real-world road conditions, it reverts to its default settings. As such, it emits voluminous amounts of nitrogen oxide that are multiple times over the limits set by the EU and WHO.
Nitrogen oxide is a gas that has NO or nitric oxide and NO2 or nitrogen dioxide as its main components. It is responsible for the formation of smog, acid rain, and ground-level ozone. It also impacts vegetation negatively in that it often stunts plant and crop growth.
Exposure to NOx can impact human health in several ways:
- Shortness of breath or breathing problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Corroded teeth
- Asthma or aggravated asthma
- Other respiratory issues
Constant exposure to high levels of nitrogen oxide will result in the following health complications:
- Increased risk for cancer
- Increased risk for cardiovascular diseases
- Chronically reduced lung function
- Premature death
The diesel emissions scandal started with VW but other car manufacturers were eventually implicated. Mercedes-Benz was the first to be added to the list.
Mercedes emissions scandal
The Mercedes emissions scandal happened several months after the VW scam. Like Volkswagen, authorities found defeat devices in their diesel vehicles sold in the American market. Daimler, Mercedes’ parent company, has denied the claims over and over. Despite this, though, the carmaker has been paying fines and compensations, facing legal cases, and recalling affected vehicles for years.
In December 2020, Daimler settled with US authorities and agreed to pay fines and class-action lawsuits amounting to around $2.2 billion (around £1.852 million). With Volkswagen paying off affected drivers in England, it is possible that Mercedes could do the same. The carmaker is facing several class-action lawsuits and group litigation cases that could cost the company millions, so agreeing to a settlement can be an option.
Additionally, more affected car drivers are added to the list as many have realised the importance of getting compensation for the inconvenience and financial burden that the defeat device has caused them.
How to get emission compensation
Filing an emission compensation case against your manufacturer can be a challenging and tedious process, but it will be all worth it if you get what you are owed. However, if you are willing to hire some help, you can do so by finding a panel of emissions solicitors who are highly trained and experienced in winning emissions claims.
Working with a panel of solicitors will not only make the process easier but it will also increase your chances of winning the claim. They know what to do every step of the way, and they know the car manufacturers and how to work around them. The panel of emissions solicitors at Emissions.co.uk have been in the industry for years and have won several cases. You’ll want to work with them. Visit their website to find out how they can help you win your Mercedes emissions claim.