World-famous car brand Toyota made the headlines in October 2022 after lawyers filed a class-action lawsuit in a Supreme Court in Victoria. The case is linked to allegations that the carmaker used defeat devices in their diesel vehicles so they could control emissions.
The class action involves around 500,000 affected vehicles and includes some of Toyota’s bestsellers, such as the Land Cruiser, RAV4, and the HiLux. If the Australian court agrees that the case has merit, the carmaker could spend a total of $1 billion (£803,438,700) for a compensation payout.
According to lawyers representing the affected drivers, Toyota used DDDs, or diesel defeat devices, that tampered with the emissions control systems of the diesel vehicles. The devices helped high-emitting cars pass regulatory testing.
A defeat device is designed to automatically sense when a vehicle it’s installed in is being tested. When this happens, the device immediately enforces an emission level ceiling to match the legal limits that the World Health Organization (WHO) endorses. This makes the vehicle appear emissions-compliant.
However, the low-level emissions are good only while it’s being evaluated by authorities. As soon as the vehicle hits real roads, though, NOx or nitrogen oxide emissions shoot up once again to illegal levels. This is concerning as NOx is a group of gases that includes nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO), both of which negatively affect human health and the environment.
The lawyers accused Toyota of installing the devices in thousands of diesel vehicles across Australia. They claimed that the carmaker hid real emissions and instead tweaked the vehicles’ performance to satisfy emission test requirements. If this is proven, then Toyota has effectively lied to their customers and mis-sold the vehicles by marketing them as fuel-efficient, emissions-compliant vehicles.
Moreover, if this is proven, then the affected vehicles do not adhere to the required safety standards in Australia.
The diesel claim covers Toyota diesel vehicles that were bought on or after February 7, 2016; whether pre-owned or brand-new.
Toyota is one of the most popular, trusted, and highest-selling car brands in Australia. The claim is one of the biggest in the country’s legal history but is not related to the diesel particulate filter defects case against Prado, Fortuner, and HiLux vehicles.
Toyota representatives promised to do all that they can to defend the lawsuit.
Dieselgate and NOx
The Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal started with only the Volkswagen Group receiving a Notice of Violation from US authorities. Representatives from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA alleged that defeat devices were discovered in Audi and VW diesel vehicles sold to Americans.
VW recalled thousands of affected vehicles. They also had to pay fines – something that they continue to do even today.
Not long after the VW diesel emissions scandal broke, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Renault, and Vauxhall were also allegedly caught using the cheat devices. Nissan is quite new to the scene as authorities allegedly uncovered the defeat devices only in 2020. Still, emission claims have already started and now that Toyota is about to settle with affected drivers, many are expecting Nissan to follow.
VW, Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota, and all the other carmakers that allegedly used defeat devices are legally responsible for the impacts of NOx emissions.
Once exposed to NOx emissions, a person can develop various health conditions, starting with dementia due to a decline in cognitive skills.
Mental health can also be affected, and this can lead to frequent episodes of depression and anxiety.
The biggest threats of exposure to NOx emissions, however, are serious health conditions that can develop over time, specifically:
- Pulmonary oedema
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Certain cancers
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Premature death
In recent years, there has been a steady increase in premature deaths linked to air pollution or NOx emissions. Most cases involved exposure to high-level emissions, such as the death of Ell Adoo-Kissi-Debrah. Ella died in 2013 after a severe asthma attack that was caused by extreme exposure to toxic air. She lived in one of the most polluted areas of London. She was only nine years old when she died.
Ella’s death prompted London authorities, and the EU, to come up with strengthened air pollution policies and programs. It’s also one of the reasons why emissions standards are strictly implemented.
Carmakers involved in the diesel emissions scandal should be held responsible for the inconveniences they caused and the dangers they exposed carmakers to. Bringing them to court through a diesel claim should be a priority among affected car owners.
Can I file my diesel claim right away?
A diesel claim will hold your carmaker legally responsible for their deceptive and illegal actions. If you win the case, they will compensate you according to the court’s orders.
Before you can start your claims process, however, you should verify first if you are qualified to receive compensation. This is easy as all you have to do is visit ClaimExperts.co.uk and go through their list of qualifications for filing an emission claim. Once you’re done, you should talk to an emissions expert and decide which direction to take: to file your case on your own or join a group legal action.