Home Automotive Mercedes Pay $1.5bn in US over Diesel Emission Fraud Claims

Mercedes Pay $1.5bn in US over Diesel Emission Fraud Claims

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The Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal broke in 2015 but Mercedes-Benz and its parent company Daimler continue to be in the hot seat.

In September 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, along with the California Resources Board, called on Volkswagen to answer allegations that illegal defeat devices were found in their diesel vehicles sold across the country. The devices were used to manipulate emissions testing.

VW initially denied the accusations but later on admitted to using the cheat software. Not long after, Mercedes-Benz – a German carmaker like VW – was also accused of using the same defeat devices in their diesel vehicles. Unlike Volkswagen, however, Daimler denied – and continues to deny – the allegations against them.

Nevertheless, the car manufacturer adheres to the law and has been paying off fines and compensation. Thousands upon thousands of Mercedes-Benzes have also been recalled over the years for refitting with safer, cleaner, and emissions-compliant engines. 

While the emissions scandal started in the US, it eventually spread throughout Europe, the UK, and other parts of the world. 

Mercedes pays the eye-watering amount

About two years ago, in September 2020, Mercedes-Benz USA and Daimler finalised an agreement with the US EPA, Department of Justice, and the attorney general’s office in California. The carmaker agreed to pay a total of $1.5 billion (approximately £1.24 billion) over the emissions-related allegations. 

According to US authorities, Daimler used defeat devices in around 250,000 of their diesel cars and vans sold across the country. As such, the company did not comply with emissions regulations and environmental laws, and evidently, with state and federal laws. 

Aside from paying off US authorities, Daimler and Mercedes-Benz also agreed to pay civil penalties. Vehicle recalls intended to fix the affected vehicles and equip them with new, cleaner, and safer engines were also part of the agreement. Civil settlements totalled to about $875 million (£721 million) or $3,500 for every affected vehicle sold in the United States. 

In order to fulfil the other conditions stipulated in the agreement, Daimler was estimated to spend an additional amount that may total to millions in euros. California officials were also expected to get around $17.5 million (£14.4 million), which they will utilise for future environmental projects and enforcements. 

With the agreement in place, Daimler and Mercedes-Benz no longer have to worry about dealing with lengthy court actions, which can be susceptible to financial and legal risks. 

Despite the settlement, Daimler continues to deny all the allegations thrown against them.

The emissions scandal

The defeat devices that opened up the floodgates for the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal are illegal software programmed to deceive authorities and car owners. 

A defeat device is able to determine when the car or van it’s installed in is being tested. Once it detects this, it suppresses the vehicle’s emissions, reducing them to levels that are within the World Health Organizations’ safe and legal limits. 

The story changes when the vehicle is driven on the road, in real-world driving conditions. Emission levels revert to their usual, far exceeding the EU and WHO limits. Therefore, Mercedes and Daimler sold vehicles that were actually pollutants; they deceived their consumers. 

NOx emissions

NOx or nitrogen oxide emissions are what diesel vehicles emit every time their owners take them out for a drive. These are dangerous emissions that have serious impacts on the environment and human health.

The primary gases found in NOx are NO or nitric oxide and NO2 or nitrogen dioxide. On their own, NO and NO2 can already impact the environment and human health, but they become more toxic when they combine to become NOx.

Nitrogen oxide is what helps form acid rain and smog. Smog is that brownish-yellow cloud that envelops big cities. It is an indicator of poor air quality. 

NOx is also responsible for creating ground-level ozone. This colourless, irritating gas is a secondary pollutant. It also has debilitating effects on vegetation, even directly impacting crop yields. 

Exposure to nitrogen oxide can cause several health issues, including inflammation of the airways, breathing problems, coughing and wheezing, colds and flu, emphysema, bronchitis, asthma or aggravated asthma, and other respiratory conditions. 

Prolonged exposure to excessive amounts of NOx can lead to an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers, irreversible respiratory damage, chronically reduced lung function, and premature death.

Some evidence also shows that nitrogen oxide exposure can trigger depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

Mercedes emissions claims

A Mercedes emissions claim allows affected car owners to receive compensation from their manufacturers for the inconvenience brought about by the mis-selling they were subjected to. It is every car owner’s right to file one, although it can be a complicated and lengthy process. This is why ClaimExperts.co.uk and its panel of emissions solicitors offer their services with a no-win-no-fee guarantee.

Working with a regulated, highly trained, and experienced panel of emissions solicitors will increase your chances of winning the Dieselgate compensation claim. Visit their website and see if you are eligible to start your emission claim journey.

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