As Mercedes-Benz continues to deny allegations of using cheat software for manipulating emissions tests, legal representatives are confident that affected drivers can get compensation that can be worth thousands. Approximately one million Mercedes car owners in the UK have begun to bring claims against the carmaker in relation to the emissions cheating allegations.
A defeat device is designed to know when a vehicle is about to undergo a regulatory test. Once testing starts, it brings down emissions levels for the entirety of the test so the amount of toxic gases would not go over the World Health Organization’s mandated limits.
Once the vehicle is taken out of the lab and driven on real-world roads, however, it shifts to its default settings and starts releasing considerable amounts of nitrogen oxide (NOx). To authorities who have only seen the lab test results, the vehicle appears safe for human health and the environment. The truth, however, is that the defeat device makes the vehicle a highly polluting one.
In essence, Mercedes lied to their customers because they marketed the vehicles as the safer and cleaner alternative. As such, affected car owners have every right to claim compensation.
According to one of the legal firms representing affected car owners, each of the claimants can get as much as £10,000 and there are over thousands upon thousands of them around the UK and Europe – around 600,000 in the UK, to be exact.
This development is just one of the many linked to the 2015 Dieselgate scandal, one of the most devastating incidents to ever happen to the car industry. Vehicle manufacturers involved in the scandal have all been paying out fines, compensation, and legal fees in billions.
What was the Dieselgate scandal about?
It was in September 2015 when the Volkswagen Group received a notice from the California Air Resources Board and the US EPA or Environmental Protection Agency. It alleged that the carmaker installed defeat devices in their diesel vehicles that were sold in the United States. VW did not confirm anything at first but eventually told the truth – they knew all along, including some of their highest officials – about the devices.
A few years later, US authorities sent another notice but this time around, it was for Mercedes-Benz. The allegations were the same – the use of defeat devices in their diesel vehicles. Several affected car owners also got together and decided to file a class-action lawsuit against Mercedes.
Additionally, authorities also caught Mercedes colluding with BMW and Volkswagen in delaying emissions reduction technology. Since they told authorities about the conspiracy, Mercedes wasn’t fined while BMW and VW were.
VW and Mercedes aren’t the only manufacturers that were alleged to have used defeat devices, there are many others, including Renault, Vauxhall, Nissan, Land Rover, Peugeot, Skoda, Alfa Romeo, Citroën, and BMW.
Why are NOx emissions illegal?
Anything that is not good is illegal, like the NOx emissions that come out of diesel vehicles. Nitrogen oxide is a group of highly reactive gases. Their main components are NO2 or nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide or NO. It acts as a catalyst that forms smog and acid rain and is also responsible for the production of ground-level ozone, a pollutant that can cause plants and crops to weaken and stop growing.
A person with mental health issues may also be triggered if they are constantly exposed to NOx emissions. Incidents of anxiety and depression can become more frequent. In some cases, cognitive functioning can be affected and lead to Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
Exposure to nitrogen oxide emissions has several health impacts and most of them involve a change of lifestyle. If the exposure is low-level, a person can have difficulty in breathing, fluid in their lungs, bronchitis or emphysema and other respiratory issues, and asthma.
If exposure to high levels of NOx emissions is constant, the implications can be serious: loss of proper lung function, vocal cords spasm, an increased risk of some cancers, asphyxiation, cardiovascular diseases, and premature death.
Nitrogen oxide emissions and pollution in general are now considered major factors in the hundreds of thousands of early deaths around the world. It has become even more dangerous or life-threatening than smoking.
These negative effects, along with the inconveniences that the defeat device gave them, are why affected drivers have the right to make a claim against their carmaker. A claim is the best way to hold manufacturers take responsibility for their misleading actions.
Making a diesel claim
Making a diesel claim can be challenging and time-consuming but working with a team of emissions experts can help make things easier. Before anything else, though, you have to verify that you are eligible to make a claim. Whether you’re making a Mercedes emissions claim or bringing a case against another carmaker, visit ClaimExperts.co.uk right away so you can verify if you can file one.