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Dieselgate and VW Diesel Claims

Everything You Need to Know About Diesel Emissions Claims for Your Volkswagen

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Jan 04, 2024
6 minutes read
  • Why people could make a VW diesel claim
  • Details of the Volkswagen emissions scandal
  • How you can make a diesel claim

Manufacturers are no strangers to lies and deception. While marketing can be misleading or stretch the boundary of truth, if you have enough money, you can play down any issues and try to cover things up as best you can. Put your head in the sand and hope it all blows over.

But massive issues, like dieselgate, have a way of being found out regardless and courts can make a ruling like they did with the Volkswagen emissions scandal. Customers made a VW diesel claim to receive compensation because of this. After all the lies, how can you be taken seriously once your reputation has been destroyed?

The VW diesel claim emerged after it came to light just how much deception there was under the bonnet of Volkswagen. People affected could make a genuine diesel claim to receive compensation for driving around in ignorance of the true levels of emissions they were producing.

This article will discuss what the Volkswagen emissions scandal was, the implications it has had and why the WV diesel claim opened up the door for a diesel claim with other manufacturers, including Citroën, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Volvo.

Need to make a diesel claim? Use our eligibility checker to see if you qualify. It only takes a minute.

A black Volkswagen car with exhaust emissions permeating the front grille

What's On This Page?

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What Was Dieselgate?

Defeat Devices

Before anyone could make a VW diesel claim, things looked a little different. Back in 2009, Volkswagen started fitting defeat, or cheat, devices to their vehicles in a way of making their cars appear more environmentally friendly than they actually were. They worked by limiting the emissions produced when the car or van detected it was undergoing a test.

Fast forward to September 2015 and this little titbit made headlines after Volkswagen admitted that 11 million of its vehicles had been fitted with these defeat devices around the world.

Affected Vehicles

The cars in question were across the VW, Audi, SEAT and Škoda brands that featured diesel engines and were manufactured before 2016. In other words, this was no small operation. A VW diesel claim also covered cars across these other three brands.

Tip of the Iceberg

Ban Carbon Emissions Vector

American regulators discovered the devices and when conducting tests in lab conditions, they found some vehicles were emitting almost 40 times the lawful limits of nitrogen oxides (NOₓ). Even though these levels differ by country, this was a shocking discovery that set a precedent for grounds to make a VW diesel claim. It prompted research to be undertaken around the world, as VW, at the time, were disputing that their vehicles in other countries were also affected.

American Courts

Fast forward again to January 2017 and VW finally admitted its guilt in American markets, with the court providing a ruling that they pay a $2.8 billion fine. The acting CEO at the time resigned as well. In the UK, it was revealed that 1.2 million vehicles were affected by cheat devices and the VW diesel claim started to appear.

You can see a breakdown of some of the legal costs Volkswagen paid in the interactive graph below.

Can I Still Make a VW Diesel Claim?

Thousands of motorists across the UK have been affected by dieselgate, but a £193 million settlement was paid in May 2022 outside of court. This now means that no further diesel claims can be made for the Volkswagen emissions scandal. There are other ways of making claims, not specifically a VW diesel claim, as we’ll explain at the end of this article.

Please note, there are some UK law firms still taking VW diesel claims, but these are few and far between. If you missed the initial deadline, you can add your details by clicking on the button below.

How Long Does a Diesel Claim Take?

It’s hard to estimate exactly how long a VW diesel claim would take. Because only two manufacturers have currently had any progress in being processed through the courts, it’s not clear cut. The original dieselgate group litigation order was set up back in 2018 and wasn’t due to go to court until 2023. Mercedes is due to be taken to court later in 2024.

Even before the court date was reached, Volkswagen settled the dispute outside of court. If another group litigation order were to happen in future, there is the possibility that it could also take years to get any traction. The bottom line is, a VW diesel claim, or a claim for any other manufacturer, is not likely to be quick.

The Implications of the Volkswagen Emissions Scandal

Worldwide, VW has paid out £26 billion in both fines and compensation. More than 91,000 claimants received a share of £193 million in compensation in the UK, equating to around £2,100 per VW diesel claim, minus the cut for the law firm used. The repercussions of dieselgate are still being felt today as other manufacturers have been under the magnifying glass, including Citroën, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and BMW.

The wide reaching implications of the VW diesel claim scandal were more than simply receiving money for lies spread over a number of years. The key messages to take away from this are about environmental concerns, corporate responsibility, reimbursement and health benefits.

The Environmental Impact

Harmful Emissions

NOₓ emissions are produced by cars and laws have been passed over the years to limit the amount vehicles are legally allowed to expel. The main reason why people could make a VW diesel claim was because vehicles were emitting illegal levels of NOₓ. Amongst NOₓ gases, nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide are produced, which are both harmful to the environment and to health.

Ground Level Ozone

Acid Rain Vector

Chiefly amongst the environmental concerns is that the gas can form ozone at ground level, which damages flora and crops. It has the means to change the chemistry of the soil and damage habitat biodiversity. NOₓ gases can also contaminate water sources and cause acid rain, generating additional damage to lakes, forests and other habitats.

Ground level ozone is much more dangerous because its formed as a chemical reaction between NOₓ gases and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Emissions produced by cars and other sources react with sunlight at low levels, creating unhealthy levels of ozone. Both rural and urban areas are affected as high winds can blow these gases into neighbouring areas, meaning everyone is affected.

Destroys High Level Ozone

NOₓ gases have the potential to destroy the ozone layer, which protects us from some of the worst radiation from the sun. UV-B radiation, stopped by the ozone layer, damages the DNA in skin cells, causing sunburn and most skin cancers. A VW diesel claim was also about owning up to and limiting the environmental impact of affected vehicles.

The Earth's Atmosphere

The Accountability of Corporations

This is a massive deal. Submitting a VW diesel claim was a way of making sure that manufacturers knew that they had to make right on what they had done. It sent a message that companies couldn’t play fast and loose with the rules or be above the law.

Even though money corrupts, businesses have an obligation to be clear and honest about how they are conducting themselves and to compensate customers for any wrongdoing on their part. It’s about building trust with the public so you can be taken seriously and still make money in a sustainable and responsible way. You were exerting your right as a citizen to make your voice heard by making a VW diesel claim.

Financial Compensation

Many customers found that after their cars were put right, they faced a worse fuel economy, which put them out of pocket as they had to then spend more on petrol than they otherwise would have done. A VW diesel claim was then a way of them owning up and paying for their deliberate misdeeds. No one likes being the victim and the Volkswagen emissions scandal was no different.

Health Concerns

Lastly, a VW diesel claim was also about the health problems associated with NOₓ. Exposure to NOₓ can cause breathing problems, make you prone to infections and worsen lung and heart conditions. In forming ozone at ground level, it damages health, inflaming airways, the eyes, the nose and throat, also being able to induce asthma attacks.

Traffic pollution around the world accounts for hundreds of thousands of premature deaths every year. In the UK, traffic causes between 28,000 to 36,000 premature deaths each year. Simply knowing that you may have unwittingly contributed to these figures was grounds enough to receive compensation through a VW diesel claim.

Air Pollution Vector

How to Make a Diesel Claim

Since the deadline to make a VW diesel claim was reached back in May in 2022, you’re unable to make a claim specifically on your Volkswagen vehicle. However, other car diesel emissions claims are open, so there is a chance you might be able to receive compensation for a different brand. You can simply fill in your details to see if you’re eligible.

Finally, you must understand that you can only bring a claim against a vehicle manufacturer using the courts in the country it’s based in. This means that if you bought a vehicle in Scotland, you need to use Scottish courts to settle your VW diesel claim or otherwise.

Click on the button below to start your claim.

Mis-sold PCP Car Finance

Alternatively, instead of a VW diesel claim, if you bought a car or van through personal contract purchase (PCP) finance, you might be able to make a claim for compensation through mis-sold PCP instead. Read our accompanying article: What is PCP Car Finance?

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