Earlier this year, German carmaker Volkswagen finalised a court settlement in connection to the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal. The Volkswagen Group agreed to pay a total of £193 million to over 90,000 drivers in England and Wales. Each driver is expected to receive at least £2,100.
The VW emissions claim was made on behalf of drivers who owned Audi, Skoda, SEAT, and Volkswagen vehicles that were equipped with illegal defeat devices. A defeat device is used to cheat on emissions so the vehicle would appear clean and environmentally safe to regulators.
Originally, UK VW owners affected by the scandal would not be given compensation. Matthias Mueller, the VW Group CEO, announced during a press conference held before they entered the settlement that customers will receive compensation in the form of a package, but UK car owners will not be receiving any compensation.
According to a VW spokesman, since the residual values are not affected, UK drivers won’t be compensated. A support package would have been distributed to chosen car owners, such as those who reside in far-flung areas.
This changed after car owners in the UK joined together to bring the carmaker to court. By agreeing to the settlement, the VW Group saved on court expenses as emissions trials are often lengthy and costly for carmakers.
What is an emission claim?
An emission claim is a legal action that car owners affected by the diesel emissions scandal bring against their carmakers.
The claim serves as compensation for the deceitful act of VW and other carmakers involved in the Dieselgate scandal. They lied about the performance and emissions compliance of their diesel vehicles. They misled their customers into believing that they paid a premium price for a vehicle that was safe for the environment and human health. Drivers didn’t know that they were driving on roads emitting high levels of toxic air that significantly impacts them, the people around them, and the environment.
The amount of compensation a driver receives depends on the circumstances of their individual case.
What was the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal about?
The Dieselgate scandal first took the spotlight in 2015 when the Volkswagen Group installed defeat devices in their VW and Audi diesel vehicles to pass regulatory emissions tests in the US. The VW Group used the device to artificially reduce emissions so that these would remain within the World Health Organization or WHO-mandated limits.
Once the vehicle is out of the lab and on real roads, it emitted NOx or nitrogen oxide in massive volumes, more than the carmaker said it would. These emissions were often at least 40 times over EU and WHO limits.
VW initially denied the accusations but eventually confessed to knowing about the defeat devices. Authorities required them to pay fines, fees, and legal costs. Thousands of VW vehicles have also been recalled so their engines can be fixed according to emission standards.
The settlement with England and Wales’ affected drivers is the latest development in the VW diesel emissions scandal. Authorities and legal firms are now encouraging other car owners involved in the scam to bring a claim against their manufacturer. Vauxhall is one of the carmakers that followed the VW emissions path.
While Vauxhall denied the allegations that they equipped their diesel vehicles with defeat devices, the carmaker has already recalled around 500,000 affected vehicles in the UK.
The Vauxhall emissions scandal is fairly new but several models have already been identified as carrying illegal defeat devices.
- Zafira Tourer
These diesel-powered vehicles were created between the years 2008 and 2019, and were either purchased outright, via finance, or leased.
Nitrogen oxide emissions
Nitrogen oxide is a highly reactive gas that has adverse effects on people and the environment. When it reacts with other elements, it spreads through the atmosphere and becomes acid rain or smog. It is also responsible for producing ground-level ozone, which can weaken ecosystems, making them susceptible to damage.
NOx’s main components are nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). These elements make NOx dangerous, so much so that their health impacts can be life-changing.
If you regularly pass through areas with high levels of NOx emissions and have had mental health issues in the past, you’ll most probably experience frequent episodes of anxiety and depression. Your cognitive function may also be affected, which means your risk of developing dementia is high.
Constant exposure to NOx emissions will impact your overall health. While some of the health effects are mild, others can be life-changing. The most common impacts include asthma, respiratory diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis, breathing difficulties, and lung problems (ex. getting fluid in your lungs).
The serious, life-changing effects are asphyxiation, chronic lung function reduction, vocal cords spasm, and cardiovascular diseases. Hundreds of thousands of premature deaths are also linked to NOx emissions. It is estimated to cause around 40,000 early deaths every year in the UK.
Don’t allow Vauxhall (or any other carmaker) to take their obligations for granted. Bring them to court and make a diesel claim against them. However, do verify your eligibility to make one first.
Get in touch with ClaimExperts.co.uk to get all the information you need before you start your emissions claim.