Mercedes-Benz is one of the car manufacturers implicated in the Dieselgate scandal that started with Volkswagen in 2015. It has been years since the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allegedly discovered defeat devices in Mercedes’ diesel vehicles sold all over the US. As a result, the German carmaker has been dealing with class-action lawsuits, fines, and vehicle recalls since 2016.
The defeat device found in the vehicles was used to cheat on emissions tests. When a car is being tested, the software detects the activity and automatically reduces emission levels so they stay within legal limits. In real-world driving conditions, however, the vehicle reverts to its usual emissions levels, which far exceed the limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
It should be noted that even exceeding the mandated limit by a small margin is illegal and can put any manufacturer in trouble with the law.
This is what happened to Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and all the other car manufacturers that have been implicated in the diesel emissions scandal. The consequences for these multinational firms haven’t been easy as proven by the numerous legal cases, fines, recalls, and the never-ending investigation every involved car manufacturer has had to go through. Mercedes’ constant dealings with authorities are the perfect example of this.
Paying off US claims
In 2020, Mercedes’ parent company Daimler was ordered by the courts to pay US authorities £1.2 billion or US$1.5 billion in addition to around £568 million (US$700 million) for the class-action lawsuit filed against them. This totals to US$2.2 billion or £1.8 billion. The payments were part of the settlement for environmental and civil diesel emissions claims linked to the defeat devices that the carmaker installed in 250,000 diesel vehicles in the US several years ago.
A representative from one of the US authorities revealed that the payments were intended to help discourage other car manufacturers that were planning to violate or disregard the country’s laws against air pollution.
Each affected car owner was said to receive at least US$3,290 (or approximately £2,672). Mercedes and Daimler were also expected to spend around US$83.4 million (or approximately £67 million) on attorneys’ fees and other legal fees.
Despite agreeing to the settlement, Daimler continues to insist that they are innocent and the allegations have no basis. Despite this, the German manufacturer had to correct the emissions issue, work on warranties extensions, and recall affected cars as part of the settlement.
According to the US Justice Department, Daimler did not disclose that their vehicles were equipped with around 16 auxiliary emissions control devices. In the process, the cars “faked” their performance by reducing tank refills and improving fuel mileage. In essence, the devices made the vehicles look and feel efficient even if, in reality, they were a danger to human health and the environment.
US authorities also asked Daimler to pay a civil penalty for violation of the Clean Air Act while spending millions on correcting the affected vehicles and getting rid of excess emissions.
The vehicles affected by the Dieselgate scandal emit NOx or nitrogen oxides. NOx has nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), among others. When NO and NO2 combine, they have devastating effects on human health, the ecosystem, and the environment. NOx, after all, is responsible for the formation of acid rain, smog, and ground-level ozone.
Nitrogen oxides are released in small amounts into the soil and can evaporate into air and from water, but most of them will turn into nitric acid. So, breathing in NOx will cause several negative health effects, such as eye irritation; shortness of breath; lung, throat, and nose irritation; nausea; and the possibility of fluid building up in the lungs.
If a person is regularly exposed to high levels of nitrogen oxides, the upper respiratory tract and throat tissue swell and spasm. Some people also often develop severe conditions and illnesses, including respiratory problems, cardiovascular issues, and even early death.
Nitrogen oxides may also trigger symptoms of depression and anxiety
NOx is a danger to the environment and can significantly affect the ecosystem. Constant NOx exposure can make plants stop their growth.
All these negative effects are more than enough reasons for affected car owners to make a diesel emissions claim against their manufacturers, particularly Mercedes.
How do I go about my diesel claim?
Filing a Dieselgate claim can be challenging if you do not know how to do it. There will be documents and other requirements to prepare. The legal process can be tedious as well. However, a successful Mercedes diesel compensation claim will rightfully give back to you what the manufacturer owes you (i.e. they lied to you about the car; your vehicle contributes to air pollution; and the negative effects of NOx emissions).
As such, you will need the guidance and help of a highly experienced, trained, and regulated team of solicitors. The panel of emissions solicitors at ClaimExperts.co.uk are able to bring forward your claim against Mercedes should you be eligible. They have recently opened their Mercedes claim to UK residents. If you believe you are eligible, get in touch with their panel of Mercedes emissions solicitors today.