In 2015, the “dieselgate” scandal erupted worldwide after it was discovered that Volkswagen installed illegal “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests. In addition to being a gross violation of consumer rights, the manufacturer’s manipulation of emissions data caused a devastating environmental and health scandal in the United Kingdom and across the world.
After over 100,000 diesel car owners in the UK filed claims against Volkswagen, the German carmaker reached a £193m settlement in a group action lawsuit. Unfortunately, approximately 13 million diesel cars across the UK and Europe are still producing levels of toxic air pollution ranging from suspicious to extreme. Contact our Liverpool solicitors at Bingham Long if you bought or leased a diesel vehicle with a defeat device. We can review your case.
What Is Dieselgate?
Before a new vehicle can be approved for sale, it must pass a pollution test to ensure is complies with federal emissions regulations. In 2014, it was discovered that Volkswagen had installed software in their vehicles that could manipulate these tests and make it appear that the cars were emitting far less harmful emissions. Specifically, the software was designed to cheat diesel emissions tests to limit nitrogen oxides (NOx).
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately 482,0000 Volkswagen diesel cars driven in the United States were emitting up to 40 times the legal limit of NOx. The amount of harmful NOx emissions emitted by these vehicles is comparable to the NOx emissions from all power stations, vehicles, industries, and agriculture in the UK. The dieselgate scandal is the largest consumer group action ever brought before the English courts.
Volkswagen was not the only car company guilty of fitting its vehicles with cheat devices. For example, Daimler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, also manipulated emissions testing in over 1 million vehicles sold in Europe and the United States. Daimler recalled close to 775,000 vehicles in 2018 and thousands more after the company was fined €870 million for “negligent violation” for taking measures to manipulate exhaust emissions in specific models of diesel vehicles.
How Does the Defeat Device Work?
The defeat device is not a physical device. It is a software that could sense when the vehicle was in test mode, at which time it activated equipment that reduced emissions. However, during regular driving, the software switched to a separate mode, which caused significant changes to the fuel pressure, injection timing, exhaust gas recirculation, and, in specific models, the amount of urea fluid sprayed into the exhaust. While this may improve the vehicle’s power and acceleration, it allows greater NOx emissions, which have been associated with severe respiratory and heart conditions and linked to lung cancer cases.
Am I Eligible to File a Dieselgate Claim?
If you think the dieselgate scandal has directly impacted you, you may be eligible to make a diesel emission collective action claim. Approximately half a million vehicle owners may be eligible to claim compensation in the UK alone. Although the deadline to make a claim has passed for some vehicles, including SEAT, Škoda, and Audi, you may still be eligible to make a claim on a range of other affected vehicles, including Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, and Volvo. However, you must meet the following criteria:
- Your vehicle has a diesel engine.
- You purchased the vehicle between 2007 and 2018.
- You purchased the vehicle new or used.
- You leased the vehicle or purchased it outright.
- You paid more than necessary for the car.
- You would not have purchased the vehicle if you knew of the emissions flaw.
Even if you had the vehicle fixed to comply with emissions standards, you can still make a claim.
How Do I File a Dieselgate Claim?
The first step to pursuing a dieselgate claim is to fill out a claims form, which will include the make and model of your vehicle and how you have been affected by the scandal. Next, you are urged to register your claim with Bingham Long. To proceed with your claim, we may require the following types of documents:
- Primary: This includes information like the purchase invoice from the garage or dealer, any finance agreements, lease agreements if you leased your vehicle, and any other documentation that will help your case. If you cannot provide these documents, it could have a negative impact on the outcome of your case.
- Secondary: This is information that could be valuable to your case. The documents will depend on your specific circumstances.
- Documentation about repairs to the software: If you repaired the defective software, this does not mean that you are ineligible to file a claim.
How Can Bingham Long Help Me With My Dieselgate Claim?
Our solicitors in Liverpool have negotiated successful outcomes in a range of collective actions and emissions claims and will continue to hold negligent car manufacturers responsible for their deceitful actions. Your claim will be made on a “no win, no fee” basis, meaning we only receive payment if you win your case. Bingham Long can assist you with every step of the claims process and protect your rights.
Our Liverpool solicitors proudly stand up for those harmed by negligent car manufacturers. Bingham Long handles dieselgate claims involving:
Contact us today to learn about your options if you believe you have a Dieselgate claim.
If you believe that you are a victim of the dieselgate scandal, it is recommended that you contact our Liverpool solicitors at Bingham Long at your earliest convenience. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 0151-318-6444 or contact us online. Located in Liverpool, Wallasey, and Birkenhead, we represent clients throughout Merseyside County.