An EU court adviser has stated that owners of “dirty diesel” vehicles or vehicles equipped with defeat devices have the right to claim compensation from their manufacturers. This statement came during proceedings for a case filed against German carmaker Mercedes-Benz.

A legal representative of thousands of car owners affected by the case said the adviser’s opinion is vital, especially because it focuses not only on intentional but also on negligent acts of the involved car manufacturers. This, according to him, will help make the diesel emissions claim process easier.

The case against Mercedes-Benz heard in the court was brought by the owner of a Mercedes C220 CDI. Problems with the vehicle’s exhaust gas recirculation system led the consumer to file a case against the carmaker. The system worked only within a particular temperature range, which led to reduced recirculation. This caused nitrogen oxide or NOx emissions to increase.

As per a Regensburg court, this act is proof of the use of an illegal defeat device.

According to a Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) advocate general, it is the court’s responsibility to ensure the car owner’s interests are properly protected. He also came up with EU laws requiring member states to allow consumers who purchased a vehicle installed with a defeat device to bring a diesel compensation case against their erring manufacturer.

EU member states should be the ones to determine and specify the rules for calculating compensation, which should be equal to the damage or loss the car owner sustained. For the Regensburg case, the advocate general left the responsibility of determining the correct compensation for the affected car owner.

Mercedes-Benz said they will wait for the court’s ruling regarding the case, especially since opinions expressed by CJEU advisors or judges are not legally binding.

Understanding what a defeat device does

A defeat device is an assembly of software and/or hardware installed in vehicles. It is designed to manipulate emissions testing. The equipment can detect when a vehicle is in the lab for a regulatory test. The device automatically and artificially reduces emission levels so that this falls within the range of the World Health Organization’s set limits.

However, once the vehicle is brought out of the lab and driven in real-world road conditions, the defeat device makes the vehicle revert to its usual settings, emitting massive amounts of toxic gases that exceed the WHO- and European Union-mandated limits by several magnitudes. As such, it releases dangerous volumes of NOx or nitrogen oxides, which have a range of devastating effects on the environment and human health.

Nitrogen oxide’s main components are NO or nitric oxide and NO2 or nitrogen dioxide. On its own, NO is relatively harmless, but once it reacts and combines with NO2 to form NOx, it becomes dangerous.

NOx is hugely responsible for the formation of smog and acid rain, as well as for the creation of ground-level ozone. It also affects vegetation – plants and crops exposed to nitrogen dioxide are often more susceptible to frost damage and stop growing.

Nitrogen oxide’s effects on human health range from mild to serious:

  • Eye irritation
  • Lung problems
  • Asthma or aggravated asthma
  • Corroded teeth
  • Breathing problems
  • Increased risk to certain cancers
  • Increased risk to cardiovascular diseases
  • Asphyxiation
  • Chronically reduced lung function

Regular exposure to excessive amounts of nitrogen oxide may lead to premature death. The first of such case was recorded in the UK after the death of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah. She was in and out of the hospital for seizures and asthma. On the fateful day in 2013, she suffered from a severe asthma attack. She died shortly after.

An inquest was on her death was opened and in December 2020, the coroner ruled that Ella’s premature death was caused by air pollution. Ella and her mom lived near the South Circular Road in Lewisham, London, which is a heavily polluted area. Her constant exposure to nitrogen oxide significantly contributed to her death.

Diesel emissions claim

There are two reasons why you, as a car owner affected by the Dieselgate scandal should bring a diesel emissions claim against their vehicles:

  1. Your manufacturer lied to and misled you into buying vehicles that were supposedly environmentally friendly. You were actually driving pollutant vehicles.
  1. Your manufacturer duped you into paying a premium on a vehicle that contributes toxic air. You deserve to be paid for the financial inconvenience this caused you.

Your question at this point might be:

“How should I file my diesel claim?”

Filing a diesel compensation claim may take years to finish. It also often involves several requirements, and the process can sometimes be confusing. Nevertheless, these can all be taken care of by hiring a panel of emissions solicitors for your legal team. They are specifically trained and experienced in bringing forth compensation claims, so they know exactly what has to be done to ensure the success of your case.

The panel of emissions solicitors are have been serving the industry for years. They have had numerous clients and won several claims. Improve your chances of winning your Mercedes emissions claim by working with them. Visit their website now and see if you are eligible to claim.