In July 2021, a law firm in London claimed that UK-based carmaker Vauxhall installed defeat devices in their diesel vehicles. They allegedly used the devices to cheat emissions tests.
Around 600,000 Vauxhall diesel vehicles were affected; specifically Zafira, Corsa, and Astra models that were sold between the years 2009 and 2019. Lawyers have been actively campaigning and encouraging affected drivers to file a claim. If the case is successful, each driver will be compensated accordingly. Initial estimates placed the amount at around £2,500 for each affected car owner.
According to the law firm, the Vauxhall drivers were made to believe that the vehicles they bought followed approved emissions standards. They were promised emissions-compliant vehicles, but Vauxhall allegedly did not inform them that defeat devices were installed in the said cars and vans. As a result, laboratory emissions were allegedly different from real-road emissions.
Defeat devices can detect when a vehicle is being tested in the lab. Once this happens, the devices suppress emissions to within normal levels. While test results identify the vehicles as emissions-compliant, this only applies for when the vehicle is being tested. As soon as it is out of the lab and being driven on real roads, NOx or nitrogen oxide emissions revert to unlawful levels. NOx has dangerous health impacts, including cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Vauxhall diesel emissions claim lawyers believe that car owners were tricked into spending a premium amount on vehicles that were worth the price the carmaker advertised.
The British carmaker released a statement denying the accusations. Nevertheless, legal action via a Vauxhall emissions claim campaign started two years ago. Law firms grouped numerous cases into a single claim so the UK courts can hear hundreds or thousands of similar claims as a single case instead of separate ones.
Vauxhall’s case is an offshoot of the Dieselgate scandal of 2015, which initially involved German carmaker Volkswagen.
NOx emissions and the Dieselgate scandal
NOx emissions have been around for years, ever since car owners started driving diesel vehicles. However, they were thrust into the spotlight only fairly recently because of the Dieselgate scandal.
The Volkswagen Group caught the attention of the California Air Resources Board or CARB and the EPA – Environmental Protection Agency – after authorities reportedly discovered defeat devices in VW and Audi diesel vehicles that were sold in the US. VW had to recall the thousands of affected vehicles across the country. Over the years, the carmaker has also been spending millions on fines and driver compensation.
After VW, authorities focused their attention on other carmakers, including Renault, BMW, Nissan, and Mercedes-Benz. Vauxhall is one of the newer additions to the list, with emission claims filed only in 2021.
Dieselgate carmakers are air pollution contributors. They gave more importance to making a profit than keeping their customers safe. NOx emissions from diesel vehicles are highly dangerous. Anyone exposed to it will experience lifelong health impacts, some of which can be life-threatening.
NOx emissions are made up of toxic gases, including nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide. Nitrogen oxide produces pollutants, specifically vegetation-damaging ground-level ozone. NOx also contributes to the formation of smog and acid rain.
If a person is exposed to NOx, they will suffer from a long list of health impacts, starting with mental health-related issues. Episodes of depression and anxiety will be more frequent.
Cognitive health may also weaken and this increases the risk of developing dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease.
The most dangerous health impacts, however, are the following:
- Asthma and COPD
- Pulmonary oedema
- Cardiovascular disease
- Premature death
Exposure to air pollution, particularly NOx emissions, is linked to thousands of early deaths in recent years. It has become a major factor and is considered just as dangerous as HIV and AIDS, cigarette smoking, and drug and alcohol addiction.
In the UK, the first case of premature death due to protracted exposure to pollution was in 2013. Young schoolgirl Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah died after suffering from a bout of asthma. She lived with her mother in one of the most polluted places in the UK. An inquest on her death was ordered so the real cause could be determined.
In December 2020, the coroner official ruled Ella’s death as caused by air pollution.
This is the kind of scenario that can happen again because carmakers were too profit-hungry. Affected drivers, and the public, are exposed to NOx emissions. Their lives are put in danger. Authorities believe carmakers should take responsibility for their illegal actions. This is why law firms have been actively campaigning for car owners to file a diesel claim.
Can I file my diesel claim now?
Now is the best time to bring your carmaker to court through a diesel claim. Thousands (maybe even millions) of affected drivers have already received compensation. First things first, though; you’ll have to verify your eligibility to claim by visiting ClaimExperts.co.uk. All the important information you need is there.
Once you are verified, find an emissions expert who can help you with your case. The first decision you’ll have to make is whether to join a group claim or not. Joining one won’t cause you anything and your chances of winning the case are higher.