Can I Still Claim Compensation for the Diesel Emissions Scandal?

Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Money Savings Advice Claim compensation for the diesel emissions scandal

If you have been affected by the diesel emissions scandal, it isn’t too late to claim compensation from the car manufacturer. You can still claim compensation, for diesel emissions that may have put you at risk.

Claiming compensation for diesel emissions is your chance to get something back from a car manufacturer. Manufacturers put people at risk, potentially damaging the environment as well, and are being held accountable for this.

The diesel emissions scandal was found to be a widespread and ingrained problem, affecting hundreds of thousands of drivers on UK roads alone.

Keep reading to learn more about diesel emissions and how you can claim compensation.

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What Was the Diesel Emissions Scandal?

The diesel emissions scandal came to light in 2014. It was found that many cars, from many different manufacturers, had been fitted with ‘defeat devices’ to help them pass diesel emissions tests. In reality, car emissions were a lot higher than they should have been. In some cases, emissions of nitrogen oxide were up to 40% higher than on paper.

Nitrogen oxide is produced when a car burns diesel fuel. Limited levels are acceptable, though nitrogen oxide is a toxic gas that can cause asthma, respiratory problems, higher rates of cancer and can damage the planet’s ozone layer. Emissions tests check that diesel cars aren’t producing too much nitrogen oxide. Only cars with low enough emissions should be allowed on the road.

2013 research by the International Council on Clean Transportation found that many cars, in real-world driving conditions, produced more nitrogen oxide than they’d been found to in tests. Such big discrepancies weren’t accidental and made it clear that manufacturers had used defeat devices in their vehicles.

Defeat devices would temporarily lower car emissions when the vehicle was undergoing testing, switching off once the car was outside the usual test conditions.

Why Were Defeat Devices Used?

Emissions tests are, understandably, stringent and strict. Car manufacturers have a duty to protect those who purchase their vehicles. In the early 2000s, many manufacturers tried to get around emissions limits.

Sticking to the limits could make a car seem less appealing to a buyer. Higher combustion temperatures, with higher emissions, were what improved a car’s overall performance. As well as making a car more powerful, this would improve fuel economy.

Emissions could be lowered by bringing down the temperature diesel fuel is burned at, though this would mean that a car became less powerful and would be more expensive to run.

In addition, the methods used to cut diesel emissions were expensive. Neutralising diesel emissions often required expensive chemicals and filters that manufacturers couldn’t be bothered with, or didn’t want to invest in so that profit margins weren’t affected. These would either increase the cost of buying or running the car or would add items to regular servicing that they thought would deter prospective owners.

By using defeat devices, manufacturers found that they could manipulate test results. They could get their cars to perform the way they needed during the car emissions tests. Once they were out of test settings, cars would no longer keep their emissions as low.

How Might You Have Been Affected?

If you were affected by what’s been termed ‘Dieselgate’, then there’s a good chance that your diesel car was more dangerous than you believed it was. It could have been doing more damage to the environment, as well as your family’s lungs – the long term impact of diesel fumes might not have presented itself yet, but you might have suffered without knowing it.

In Europe, nitrogen oxide emissions should not rise above 0.080g/km. Some cars that passed the tests actually had emissions up to 40% higher, when driven in real-world conditions.

Even when the diesel emissions scandal had been uncovered, some manufacturers pushed their luck instead of coming clean to make amends. Some vehicles were recalled not to fix their emissions but to better hide their defeat devices.

Other manufacturers continued to sell cars that contained these defeat devices, up to a few years after the issue had been brought to light in reports. This means that you can’t assume your car was fine by the end of 2014.

How Can You Find Out if Your Vehicle Was Affected?

Manufacturers have set up recall pages for cars that need to be modified. During these recalls, defeat devices should be completely deactivated. Many cars will need further adjustments, so diesel emissions fall within legal levels.

To find out if your car has been affected, search online for ‘diesel emissions recall [car manufacturer]’. You’ll need your car’s VIN, or in some cases the registration plate.

If your car has been recalled, you can take it to an approved workshop for adjustments. The cost of these will be funded by the car manufacturer, and your car will be rendered much safer to use, rather than you having to completely get rid of it.

Can Compensation Be Claimed for Diesel Emissions?

Many vehicle manufacturers have been forced to pay a fine for their defeat devices. Volkswagen were ordered to pay penalties of $4.3 billion, whilst Mercedes Benz was required to pay 870 million euros. As well as fines, manufacturers are being expected to make things right for customers. Already, Volkswagen has paid out over £26 billion in worldwide cases.

It isn’t too late to claim compensation. Investigations and legal cases are ongoing. If you want to claim compensation, it’s best to act as quickly as possible. Get involved now and you may be entitled to anything up to the full value of your car in compensation.

The best way to claim compensation is to be part of group action. This is where a legal firm represents multiple people that are claiming for the same thing. A group of car owners, with legal representation, will be stronger than any individual. By signing up to be part of group action, you can share the burden of claiming compensation with others that are going through the same.

Search online for ‘diesel compensation [car make]’ to find representation. You’re likely to find that there are several different law firms that are offering to help with compensation. You can choose a law firm and contact them directly to become a claimant in their group.

What Might You Be Entitled To?

Results of compensation claims will vary, though it’s expected that some claimants may get the full cost of their car back. In many cases, there are several different factors that may reduce the value of your claim. Expect to get at least 25% of your car’s initial value back, if your claim for compensation is successful. Anything less than this should be treated as unsatisfactory.

Precedents are set in other countries. In Germany, one motorist claimed compensation and their court case was successful. The manufacturer they sued has now agreed to make payouts to all other affected German customers.

There’s no reason to think that a compensation claim should be any different in the UK. By working together, law firms and car owners should be able to make successful claims.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making a Compensation Claim?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation, and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

Money Savings Advice Author Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Mark has been writing professionally for over ten years for the financial sector. Having started in the financial world as a stock-broker in central London and then moving to equities trader Mark is one of our senior financial writers who has a vast knowledge of multiple financial sectors.

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