Carmakers implicated in the Dieselgate scandal are still feeling the repercussions of their illegal actions seven years after the incident first broke. The Volkswagen Group, Daimler and Mercedes-Benz, and all the other manufacturers that have potentially cheated on emissions testing are still getting thrust into the spotlight now and then.
A major reason for this is the various class-action lawsuits and group litigations that affected car owners have brought upon the carmakers for compensation claims. These legal actions are intended to hold the manufacturers responsible for their actions; for the financial, environmental, and health-related inconveniences and stresses that the diesel emissions scandal has caused the claimants. If a claim is successful, the affected car owner can receive financial compensation amounting to thousands.
Some manufacturers, like VW and Mercedes, have entered into and finalised settlements with involved authorities and claimants. The collective cost of these legal agreements amounts to billions but they prefer these over lengthy and more costly (in the long run) court procedures.
Bringing a claim against your carmaker involves a long process and several requirements. Not everyone who owns an affected vehicle can make an emissions claim. There are some things to consider.
Understanding the Dieselgate scandal
Before starting any legal action against your carmaker, it is essential to first understand what the Dieselgate scandal is all about.
In September 2015, The Volkswagen Group received a notice from US authorities that said Audi and Volkswagen diesel vehicles that were bought by American consumers were equipped with defeat devices or heat software used to manipulate emissions. The California Air Resources Board and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) called the attention of VW authorities.
In the following months, more manufacturers were implicated in the scandal. Mercedes-Benz, a German carmaker like VW, was also discovered to be using an identical cheat device on their diesel vehicles. Over the years, though, Mercedes has denied the allegations against them.
Other vehicle manufacturers implicated in the diesel emissions scandal include Renault, BW, Peugeot, and Nissan.
The defeat device installed in diesel vehicles can tell when a vehicle is being subjected to an emissions test so it can artificially reduce emissions levels below the limits set by the World Health Organization. To authorities, the vehicle will appear eco-friendly. When driven on real roads, however, it releases massive volumes of nitrogen oxide or NOx emissions, a highly reactive group of gases that adversely affect the environment and a person’s general health and well-being.
Vehicles with defeat devices are heavy pollutants.
Understanding the dangers of NOx emissions
Nitrogen oxide’s primary components are nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide or NO. When it mixes with other chemicals, NOx becomes a catalyst for ground-level ozone, acid rain, and smog. Ground-level ozone is a pollutant that destroys vegetation. It slows down plant growth and makes vegetation susceptible to damage.
Diesel vehicle emissions like NOx can also affect a person’s mental health, leading to frequent bouts of anxiety and depression. Cognitive function is significantly affected as well, which means a person has a greater risk of developing dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s disease.
Health impacts will also hound an individual who is regularly exposed to nitrogen oxide emissions. When the exposure is low-level, the effects include asthma, fluid developing in the lungs, and difficulty in breathing. Some people may also experience nausea and vomiting and respiratory issues such as bronchitis and emphysema.
For people who breathe in high levels of NOx emissions, the impacts can be life-threatening, including cardiovascular illnesses, higher risks for cancer, and asphyxiation. Some cases of NOx emissions exposure also result in vocal cords spasms or what is known as laryngospasms. The most devastating effect of exposure to NOx emissions, however, is premature death.
Over the years, there have been thousands of reports of early deaths linked to air pollution. Toxic air has become more dangerous than smoking. In the UK, the first confirmed air pollution-related death happened in 2013 when a young girl from South London died after a severe asthma attack. Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah just celebrated her ninth birthday when she started developing respiratory-related illnesses and even lost consciousness once. She had to be brought to the hospital and brought back several times in the next months. An inquest was ordered and in December 2020, the coroner confirmed air pollution was the primary cause of her death.
Ella and her mum Rosamund lived in one of the most highly polluted areas in London. She walked to school every day, so she was constantly exposed to nitrogen oxide emissions. Hers is just one of the many cases of premature deaths linked to toxic air.
Diesel emissions claims
Ella’s death was caused by NOx emissions from diesel vehicles. Every day, thousands of people are exposed to toxic air. Vehicles on UK roads release toxic emissions. These are all consequences of the diesel emissions scandal, which is a significant contributor to air pollution. Car owners affected by the scam should hold their carmakers responsible for all the trouble they caused. You should make a claim against them for violating emissions regulations.
First off, though, you need to determine if you are eligible to make an emissions claim. You can ask for help from the panel of emissions experts at Emissions.co.uk. Once they’ve helped you verify your eligibility, you’re ready to start the claims process.