Diesel emission lawsuits and monetary payments for 2009-2020 autos. How things are going, and whether to join the compensation race.
Owners of diesel cars in England and Wales from 2009-2020, many well-known car brands can join class action lawsuits, against the manufacturing companies. Whether you own the right car, have owned one in the past, or just rented one – it doesn't matter, you can enter the £1,000 compensation race. Explore the diesel emission class action lawsuit guide, weigh your chances and risks.
The story of the scandal that launched the lawsuit for excess pollution from diesel-powered cars
The story began back in 2014, when pollution testing of Volkswagen vehicles revealed that the manufacturer had decided to bypass scanning systems. The unscrupulous company installed software on its engines that allowed them to reduce their pollution readings during the test. The clever software activated during the test and underestimated the figures by adjusting the engine output. Conducting a study without the software revealed that the air pollution numbers were much higher in the standard on-road mode of operation.
A major scandal broke out at the International Clean Transportation Council (ICCT), called "Dieselgate" (diesel pollution scandal). But this was not the final point, a lot of well-known car manufacturers – Volvo S60, Renault Espace Energy, Jeep Renegade – fell under suspicion. The indicators were exceeded almost 10 times the European standards.
This is where the influx of law firms with lawsuits began. Representatives of the law firms proved that the testing had been done before the market price of the cars was drawn up – meaning that sales were made at a deliberately inflated price, with a markup for environmental friendliness.
Accordingly, you may base your claims on:
- you wouldn't have bought the car if you had known about the actual nitrogen oxide emissions
- the price would have been considerably less than the cost of environmentally friendly transportation. You have incurred material losses
- You had to adjust and repair the engine to meet standards, which may have affected the other performance of the machine, reducing its value and you, again, incurred material losses
Which car owners can participate in class action lawsuits?
Volkswagen is the first to get caught up in the flurry of scandals rolling in with every publicized inspection.
List of Volkswagen cars with modified diesel engines:
2.0 VW diesel cars
3.0 VW diesel cars
Eventually in 2017, VW admitted they were wrong and paid a fine of $4.3 billion.
See below for a list of car manufacturers subject to diesel emissions lawsuits in the U.K:
Other car brands produced from 2009-2020
Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Citroen, Fiat, Ford, Hyundai, Jaguar, Kia, Land Rover, Mercedes, Mini, Nissan, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Seat, Skoda, Suzuki, Vauxhall, Volkswagen and Volvo.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' 2017 testing found that more than 100,000 diesel trucks and SUVs, which included Dodge Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee models, had a program that circumvented the vehicles' pollution testing method. The company had to recall and repair 100,000 of its vehicles and pay $800 million in legal fines and monetary compensation to the victims. This was followed by a £5 million class action lawsuit in the U.K. when the circumventing software was found on several other models of that company.
French firm Renault was also found to have cheated in 2015. This affected 900,000 cars made by them. Testing of the Renault Captur and Clio IV brands found carbon dioxide pollution rates exceeded by 377% and 305%, respectively.
In 2019, 60,000 Mercedes-Benz GLK 220 vehicles (2012 - 2015) were recalled in Germany. The reason is still the same: the installation of software that allows you to change the test scores of cars for pollution.
Porsche were on the same black list of car manufacturers. Many times higher values were shown by cars with installed Euro 5 and Euro 6 engines. VW-EA 897 engine showed 8.3 times excess.
BMW had to recall 11,700 cars with diesel engines. Although the company has never admitted its guilt.
So, anyone who has bought or previously purchased, new or used, a car in the UK from 2009 to 2020 can take part in a class action lawsuit and claim compensation from the aforementioned companies.
Make sure quickly, 100%, that your car falls under the diesel emissions claims
The scandal has gotten so big that UK law firms (dealing with diesel payout claims) have created a special quick check on their websites where you can see if the car matches the claim against the manufacturing company.
To begin with, correlate a few points:
- Your car was purchased in the UK
- The first registration of the car was between 2009 and 2020
- you have checked the car on the site to determine the transport that is in violation of the technical inspection for air pollution
The conditions and nuances of filing a diesel emissions claim await you
When deciding whether or not to file a lawsuit, consider in detail what others have encountered and what problematic issues can be avoided today. Remember, you are putting yourself into a long legal battle if it goes to trial.
File an individual lawsuit
We don't recommend it because:
- Your claim will require proof of technical discrepancies, for which you will have to pay a considerable amount of money, and then your claim will not be worth a penny
- you will pay all court costs, including the costs of the other party, in the event of your fiasco
- Your time spent on the proof and the courts is not worth the money that can be paid in 5-6 years.
The class action option will help avoid this situation – all costs are paid by the law firms with an award of their percentage if they win.
Is it possible to bypass law firms with a positive outcome?
The loophole under discussion is to wait until a convenient time for the elucidation of claims and a satisfactory court decision to file your own individual claim. In that case, the claim will be based on an existing court decision, and you won't have to prove anything and pay interest to law firms for a long time.
Consider the circumstances:
- The issue can be settled before the trial, as it was in the case of VW, and then, whoever is late, is late. It is unlikely that you will want to turn around from scratch. The problems you will encounter are listed above
- You risk waiting for the "statute of limitations" to expire and then your train is gone
Relate the percentage of risk of getting nothing and getting half or even 80%. The percentage depends on the firm you go to.
The law firm's decision to grant your petition to join the class action
- When contacting a law firm dealing with diesel emission claims in the UK, find out what year vehicles and, of which firms, they take into their development. Some firms keep different registration periods for cars and different brands. For example, cars 20007-2008 year of registration leads a very small percentage of firms, but you still have a chance to join their ranks. If the result of the lawsuit is negative, you do not lose anything
- To apply for several cars is also realistic. But you cannot register the same car with several different companies
Conditions for filing a class action lawsuit:
- buying or borrowing a car
- buying a used car regardless of the seller
- sale of a vehicle that satisfies the terms of the lawsuit
- you are a claimant for a company car with a contract in your name
Partnership with a law firm has its own conditions
When you contract with a firm that handles such claims, you will not be charged any fees. The arrangement is just to decide on the percentage of the "piece of the pie" of your compensation. Variations vary, usually firms want between 20% and 50%.
Why do firms take such a risk by assuming all legal fees? If the case succeeds, by adding up the pieces of the pie from the clients, the plaintiffs get millions. And ATE insurance is supposed to cover all their costs. But such a rule does not apply to all law firms involved in the claims process.
So make sure that:
- your company has ATE coverage
- the firm has sufficient ATE coverage rather than partial coverage. In the second case, the remaining amount of costs can be divided among customers
- Your contract with the firm does not spell out your payments if you lose,
- or a clause on the financial responsibility of the firm for any outcome
Didn't happen as calculated: £1,000 may not happen
These kinds of lawsuits always have a high probability of not happening. It's not easy to get a case to trial, and most brand-specific cases tread on the first rungs of a huge ladder.
High-profile law firm claims of thousands in payouts can turn out to be just a marketing ploy to rack up numerous claims and make the lawsuit financially more significant. For example, take the law firm Pogust Goodhead, its compensation projections, for the Mercedes brand, are as high as 10,000.
Most legal advisors, on the other hand, say this is the outcome:
- It may not come to court. Perhaps everything will be settled out of court for a partial payment of the amount of the claim
- to prove that each plaintiff has suffered financial losses is a rather complicated and very long process. The projections to date are 5 to 6 years. Take the VW process for example, the consolidation of claims occurred in 2018, and the referral of the case to court was considered for 2023. Even in the case of a trial, numerous appeals will drag out the process for a long time
- In the end, if the law firms win, the amount paid on the claim may be much lower.
How much does it cost to backtrack?
Almost all firms will give you the opportunity to withdraw your class action application within 14 days. The time is given to review all documents provided by the firm and to weigh your wishes some more.
If you decide to withdraw your intentions within the 14 day period, you will not be subject to any claims or penalties. You must notify the law firm within the 14-day period in writing.
If you wake up after that time, it is likely that you will be liable for legal fees.
It is impossible to name a specific amount, but it may be hundreds or thousands of pounds.
Consider the fact that the firm will need additional documents proving ownership of the car, or sale, etc. Conclude the contract being fully confident in the availability of all necessary documents.
Law firm examples: how to join a diesel class action lawsuit in the UK?
- Make sure the car or truck you own is subject to the lawsuit (see information above)
- Choose one firm for one vehicle. If there is more than one vehicle, you may register with different firms, even if the make is the same.
- Come to the law firm for a consultation, before making a decision, make sure you and the law firm have all the necessary documents
- Apply in writing and get an agreement for review
- After carefully reviewing the contract and making sure you want it, sign it.
- Keep track of developments, although firms are obligated to notify you of progress and changes in the case
Firms serving lawsuits against diesel cars in England and Wales for 2009 - 2020 vehicles.
Victory or fiasco will not depend on one particular firm. When the case goes to court, the claims against one manufacturing company will be consolidated. If you win, the difference will be what percentage you give to the firm you contracted with.
If you want to change the servicing firm in the process, you will have to pay finance charges (see point above).
Charges from recovered losses
Audi, BMW, Citroen, Fiat, Ford, Hyundai, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes, Nissan, Vauxhall, Peugeot, Renault, Seat, Skoda, Volvo, VW
40% + VAT + insurance coverage after the event
Law Group - Johnson
BMW, Chrysler, Citroen, Fiat, Ford, Hyundai, Jaguar, Kia, Land Rover, Mercedes, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault, Vauxhall, Volvo
50% (including VAT) + contribution to legal costs (presumably not more than £70)
Audi, Citroen, Nissan, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Seat, Skoda, Vauxhall, VW
BMW, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mini, Volvo
35% (including VAT and expenses)
30% + VAT + expenses
BMW, Mercedes, Vauxhall
Jaguar, Land Rover
50% (including VAT and expenses)
35% + VAT + expenses
Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Citroen, Cupra, DS, Fiat, Ford, Hyundai, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Maserati, Mercedes, Mini, Nissan, Peugeot, Porsche, Renault, Seat, Skoda, Suzuki, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, Volvo
50% (including VAT and expenses)
Stay up to date on the progress of the case
1. Audi, Seat, Skoda and VW - settled out of court in May 2022
Compensation was £193 million, plus an unpublished contribution towards opponents' legal costs
2. Mercedes - the hearing is scheduled for February 2023.
3. Other diesel-engine car companies falling under the lawsuit - petitions have been filed, no major hearings scheduled yet.