Mercedes-Benz owners whose vehicles were fitted with defeat devices are finally seeking legal action against the carmaker. The devices are designed to manipulate emissions tests, which masks the fact that the vehicles are, in reality, pollutants and hence, contributors to global air pollution. Car owners who were previously unaware of the situation have now had the opportunity to learn about the scandal and have joined together to bring a claim against their manufacturer.
Over the years, Mercedes and its parent company, Daimler, have been dealing with the repercussions of being involved in the infamous Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal. The latest legal action against the carmakers is linked to this scam.
Although Dieselgate happened in September 2015, the first Mercedes emissions claim did not make it to the UK courts until 2021, when a UK law firm brought the claim to a London high court. While the firm has already collected around 33,000 prospective claimants, they are hoping to encourage more affected car owners to join the group litigation.
Other law firms have also been working on getting more potential claimants and have even come up with marketing campaigns intended to inform car owners and claimants who may not yet know about the defeat device issue.
The UK law firm that filed the claim in London is hoping they’ll be able to give a payout of at least £5,000 for each affected car owner.
Mercedes and Daimler are accused of falsifying emissions data and breaking consumer laws.
How did Mercedes get involved in the Dieselgate scandal?
The Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal initially involved Volkswagen but Mercedes and other popular carmakers were soon implicated in the scam, which is the biggest and most shocking one to happen to the global automotive industry so far.
Dieselgate started when US authorities, specifically the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board, discovered defeat devices in Volkswagen’s diesel vehicles in the United States. This was significant—albeit deplorable—news as defeat devices are intended to hide correct emissions levels from authorities. Once these devices detect that a vehicle is in testing, they artificially bring down emissions so these would not exceed the legal limits set by the World Health Organization.
However, when the vehicle is taken out and used on real roads, the devices switch to their factory settings, making the vehicle release massive volumes of NOx or nitrogen dioxide, often going over the limits set by the EU and WHO. Thus, the vehicle becomes a pollutant as its emissions levels are higher than what the lab results indicate.
In 2018, KBA, Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority discovered defeat devices in Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles. This resulted in a recall of the affected vehicles throughout Germany. A global recall of around 700,000 Mercedes vehicles followed.
The first time Mercedes emissions scandal allegations came out in the UK was in 2020 but the number of affected car owners increased significantly over the years.
What is NOx, the gas that diesel vehicles emit?
NOx or nitrogen oxide is a group of gases capable of impacting the environment and human health negatively. Its primary elements are nitric oxide or NO and nitrogen dioxide or NO2. On their own, these two gases already pose negative effects on the environment and a person’s overall health; they become more dangerous once they combine and become NOx.
Nitrogen oxide is responsible for the formation of smog and acid rain. It also produces ground-level ozone when it comes into contact with other chemicals. This toxic gas impacts vegetation by making vegetation weaker and more prone to frost and damage.
Mental health issues may also be triggered when a person is exposed to NOx emissions, particularly depression and anxiety. Some studies and reports have also verified the negative impact that nitrogen emissions have on a person’s cognitive abilities. Constant exposure to NOx can weaken cognitive function.
A person exposed to NOx emissions, especially if on a regular basis, can experience life-changing effects on their health, including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Breathing difficulties
- Lung problems, including chronic lung function reduction
- Asthma (or a worsened state of the condition for those who already have it)
- Corroded teeth
- Increased susceptibility to certain cancers
- Increased risk for some cardiovascular diseases
- Laryngospasm (or spasm of the vocal cords)
- Premature death
These life-changing impacts should be enough reason for any affected car owner to bring their carmakers to court. They should claim compensation for all the environmental, financial, and health-related stress and inconvenience that the carmaker has caused them.
How do I know I can claim compensation?
If your Mercedes-Benz is a BlueTec diesel-powered vehicle manufactured between the years 2008 and 2018 (until the 31st of July) and acquired via financing, leasing, or purchasing using cash, you may be eligible for a diesel claim.
There are other details to consider in verifying your eligibility, so it is essential to seek the assistance of ClaimExperts.co.uk as they know the process from start to finish. Once you have verified that you are qualified for Dieselgate compensation, you can begin working on bringing to court your claim against Mercedes-Benz.