A High Court in London has 300,000 claims filed against German carmaker Mercedes-Benz for the alleged use of defeat devices designed to manipulate emissions tests. The claims are from car owners whose vehicles allegedly have such a device in them. The cheat software controls the levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from diesel vehicles. Mercedes is also accused of lying to their customers about their diesel vehicles’ emissions compliance.
A representative for the affected drivers revealed that Mercedes allegedly used the devices to temporarily reduce NOx emissions during testing.
Defeat devices sense when a vehicle is already in the lab for testing. Once this happens, the devices lower the emissions to comply with authorities-mandated legal levels. As such, what regulators will find is a vehicle that’s compliant with emissions laws. However, this state is only good in lab conditions, so when the vehicle goes back and is used on real roads, it reverts to its default settings, emitting massive volumes of NOx.
The UK claims involve around 300,000 drivers, although lawyers believe that approximately 35,000 claims can be added to the total. The claimants decided to bring their claims together into one lawsuit, although the judge has yet to decide on specific issues before a GLO or group litigation order can be approved. It is expected to become the largest group action against Mercedes in the UK’s High Courts.
A representative for the German carmaker has denied the accusations, saying that contrary to what authorities are implicating, their vehicles did not show any impairment in systems effectiveness.
The case goes back to September 2015, when the Volkswagen Group was found to have used defeat devices for Audi and VW diesel vehicles sold in the US. It involved thousands of car owners and the carmaker had to recall all affected vehicles as the California Air Resources Board ordered. Over the years, Volkswagen has also had to pay off fees and fines. So far, they’ve spent billions on the payoffs.
It’s the same path that Mercedes has allegedly taken.
Diesel emissions scandal
The 2015 “incident” involving Volkswagen is known as the Dieselgate or diesel emissions scandal. VW was only the first carmaker to be implicated in the biggest controversial issue of the global automotive industry. Many others have since become embroiled in the fiasco, including Mercedes-Benz.
Other carmakers that have been accused of using illegal defeat devices include Renault, Vauxhall, BMW, and Nissan.
The scandal highlighted not only the cheat devices but also the dangerous gases the diesel vehicles emitted. One of the most popular of these gases is nitrogen oxide.
Described as a group of highly reactive gases, NOx can be extremely dangerous, especially if you are regularly exposed to it. It has nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO), which can have negative health impacts such as asthma and other respiratory issues.
Studies have also proven that exposure to NOx can weaken your cognitive abilities. When this happens, the chances of you developing dementia are higher. Mental health issues may also hound you from time to time, for the rest of your life.
There are serious health impacts as well, the most common of which are:
- Premature death
- Pulmonary oedema
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
The carmakers involved in the diesel emissions scandal knowingly exposed drivers to nitrogen oxide. They knew their vehicles had dangerous emissions, but they hid this fact from customers. They cared more about making a profit than keeping the public safe from toxic vehicle emissions.
The claims case against Mercedes is proof that authorities are not taking the Dieselgate scandal for granted even if it has been years since authorities first uncovered the scam. They are even urging affected drivers to join legal action against the carmakers. The ideal option would be for you to file a diesel claim.
Why a diesel claim is important
A diesel claim is a legal complaint and a challenge for carmakers involved in the Dieselgate scandal. It is important because it is the best way to hold carmakers responsible for the illegal act they did to accommodate the defeat device in their diesel vehicles.
Affected drivers have two options when filing a claim: to file an individual case or join a GLO. A group litigation order consolidates multiple cases into a big one, such as what Mercedes’ affected customers are doing.
A successful diesel claim will pay affected customers compensation, the amount of which is dependent on the details of the case. Not all claims end up successful, though. In some cases, the carmaker may offer to settle with a legal agreement amenable to both parties. For example, Mercedes reached an agreement with US authorities in 2020 that settled environmental and civil issues involving around 250,000 diesel vehicles.
Am I qualified for my diesel claim?
Since not all diesel vehicles are affected by defeat devices, it’s important to verify your eligibility to file a diesel claim. A visit to ClaimExperts.co.uk will help you sort out this matter. They have all the details you need to push your claims process forward.
Once you’re done, you can start working with an emissions expert who can help you decide whether an individual claim or a group action is ideal for your case.