The Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal is the biggest and most controversial scam in the global automobile industry. Carmakers are still experiencing the repercussions of their actions while affected car owners continue to ask for compensation.
Dieselgate happened in September 2015 after authorities in the US allegedly discovered illegal defeat devices fitted in Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles that were sold to consumers in America. The Volkswagen Group received a Notice of Violation and was ordered to recall hundreds of thousands of affected vehicles.
The VW Group also had to pay fines, fees, and compensation, something that they continue to do nowadays. The carmaker has spent billions on payoffs.
Although it started the diesel emissions scandal, Volkswagen is not the only vehicle manufacturer involved in the scam. Mercedes-Benz and its parent company Daimler, BMW, Renault, and British carmaker Vauxhall also allegedly used defeat devices.
Mercedes and BMW have had to pay fines and fees, while also entering into settlement agreements with affected drivers. The Vauxhall emissions scandal, on the other hand, is still quite new so legal action against the carmaker has just started.
Why are defeat devices illegal?
The defeat devices that were allegedly found inside VW and Audi diesel vehicles are used to manipulate emissions testing. The test is used to determine if a vehicle is emissions-compliant and ready for selling and driving on real roads.
These devices can sense when a vehicle is in testing so they can immediately control and bring down emissions to levels that are within the regulated legal limits of the World Health Organization (WHO). So to regulators, the vehicle appears clean and emissions-compliant.
This, however, is good only during testing conditions because once the vehicle is out on real roads, the vehicle goes back to releasing massive amounts of nitrogen oxide or NOx, a group of reactive gasses with dangerous impacts on human health and the environment.
Defeat device-equipped vehicles, therefore, are heavy pollutants. Volkswagen lied to their customers by making them believe that the cars they bought were environmentally safe.
What is NOx?
NOx, the gas that defeat device-equipped diesel vehicles emit, are dangerous. It contains both nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO), which has adverse effects on a person’s health. Nitrogen oxide is also responsible for the formation of smog and acid rain, and it produces ground-level ozone, a pollutant that weakens and damages vegetation such as plants and crops.
When a person is exposed to NOx emissions for a long time, they can start experiencing various health conditions.
Mental health-related issues such as depression and anxiety will be more frequent even if a person hasn’t experienced attacks or triggers in the past.
A person’s cognitive health may be on the line, too, as NOx can weaken it. When this happens, dementia can slowly set in.
Common health impacts include asthma, emphysema and other respiratory diseases, pulmonary oedema (or fluid build-up in the lungs), and breathing difficulties.
Constant exposure to NOx emissions, especially at high levels, can result in serious health impacts, including:
- Chronic lung function reduction
- Vocal cord spasm
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Premature or early death
Over the years, the number of early deaths linked to air pollution has significantly increased. The annual total number has ballooned yearly, which is why toxic air is now considered deadlier than cigarette smoking, HIV and AIDS, and drugs and alcohol. Thousands of premature deaths every year are linked to air pollution.
The first case of death due to air pollution in the UK happened in 2013 when Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah suddenly died after a severe asthma attack. Ella lived in the South Circular Road area, one of the most polluted places in London. Before her death, she was in and out of hospitals and emergency rooms for various issues related to respiratory health.
An inquest was granted on the nine-year-old’s death and in December 2020, the coroner confirmed that Ella died due to air pollution.
These life-threatening health impacts are the reason why authorities are confident that affected car owners have the right to file a diesel claim against their carmakers.
What is my diesel claim and am I eligible to claim?
A diesel emissions claim is legal action that you can file against your carmaker for:
- installing a defeat device in the vehicle you bought and not informing you about it
- the inconveniences that their illegal action has caused you and the people around you (i.e. exposure to NOx emissions)
You can file the claim with the help of an emissions expert. If your claim is successful, you can get compensation, the amount of which will depend on the circumstances of your case.
However, before starting any legal action, you should first verify if you are eligible to receive compensation. Visit ClaimExperts.co.uk to get all the information you need. Once you’re verified, you can start your diesel claim.