Trial Starts in Germany as Mercedes Defends Emissions Allegations
German carmaker Mercedes-Benz has been accused of installing defeat devices in their GLC and GLK diesel SUVs. The class-action lawsuit was filed in a Stuttgart court and focuses on two actions: to determine whether Mercedes had knowledge of the deceitful act and to allow affected car owners to claim compensation for the inconvenience that the defeat device has caused them.
In 2018, German officials and authorities passed a law that gave consumer protection organisations the legal right to bring to court any party that violated the rights of the consumers the litigators represent. This helps encourage consumers to file legal action as legal costs will no longer be too expensive.
As it has always done, Mercedes-Benz continues to deny the allegations against them, saying that the claims were all unfounded. Nevertheless, they have to cooperate with the German authorities especially since almost 50,000 Mercedes SUVs are said to be affected by the defeat devices.
The class-action lawsuit in Stuttgart is the latest development in the years-long Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal that rocked the automotive industry in 2015.
The 2015 Dieselgate scandal
In September 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, along with the California Resources Board, discovered cheat software in Volkswagen diesel vehicles that were sold in the US automotive market. The cheat software is a defeat device that manufacturers use to trick emissions testing.
Defeat devices are programmed to detect if a vehicle is in laboratory testing for emissions levels. Once the test starts, the device artificially reduces emissions so they stay within the limits set by the World Health Organization.
The story is different when the vehicle is driven in real-world road conditions as it emits extremely high levels of NOx or nitrogen oxides. Voluminous amounts of NOx emissions are dangerous, particularly if these go over the limits regulated by the European Union and WHO. Thus, vehicles with defeat devices are heavy pollutants.
About a year after Volkswagen was caught using defeat devices, car owners in the US started a class-action lawsuit against Mercedes-Benz in relation to accusations of a defeat device used in some of their vehicles. Other car manufacturers started getting implicated in the diesel emissions scandal from thereon in. Some of these carmakers are BMW, Renault, Peugeot, Alfa Romeo, Audi, Nissan, Citroën, Volvo, Honda, and Ford, among others.
While the Dieselgate scandal broke in the US, it slowly made its way to Europe, the UK, and the rest of the world.
The diesel emissions scandal is considered one of the biggest scams in the automotive industry. It is also an environmental and health-related disaster as NOx emissions are known to have devastating effects on the environment, vegetation, and human health.
Nitrogen oxide emissions briefly explained
NOx or nitrogen oxide has nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO) as main components. When it reacts with other elements and compounds, it produces smog and acid rain. NOx also significantly contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone.
It has life-changing impacts on health. Low-level exposure can lead to respiratory issues such as breathing problems, emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma or aggravated asthma. One can also experience headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Exposure to NOx can also trigger depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
Exposure to high levels of nitrogen oxide can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening health issues. The most common ones are increased risk for cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer and asphyxiation. Other deleterious effects include chronically reduced functioning of the lungs, laryngospasm, and early death.
Air pollution due to toxic emissions (such as NOx) is considered the leading cause of premature death worldwide. It is even more dangerous than smoking and HIV and AIDS. Ella Kissi-Debrah, the nine-year-old girl whose death was ruled as caused by air pollution, lived in one of the most polluted areas in the UK. She and her mother Rosamund did not know that every time they walked to school, they were breathing in considerable amounts of nitrogen oxides. Ella died of a severe asthma attack due to air pollution.
Bringing an emissions claim to court
The above-mentioned environmental and health impacts are the primary reasons why car owners affected by the Dieselgate Mercedes scandal are encouraged to file an emission compensation claim against the carmaker. Regardless of the amount that you will receive, it is the best compensation for all the financial distress and inconvenience that the defeat device has caused you.
To ensure your claim is properly brought to court, work with a panel of emissions solicitors such as the ones at ClaimExperts.co.uk. Their specialised legal skills will help your case and increase your chances of winning the compensation you deserve. They’re easy to talk to and are committed to helping car owners like you who have been duped by unscrupulous car manufacturers.
Visit their website and to see if you are eligible to start your Mercedes emissions claim now.