Should you file a diesel emissions claim and how?
Auto Law

Should you file a diesel emissions claim and how?

Thousands of diesel car owners are filing lawsuits, alleging they were misled about their vehicles’ pollution levels.

Between 2007 and 2020, many motorists bought diesel cars, believing they had lower nitrous oxide emissions. However, it’s alleged that car manufacturers installed devices that manipulated emissions readings, making the pollution levels seem lower than they actually were.

While manufacturers deny these claims, many drivers argue that the results showed lower pollution levels when, in reality, their vehicles were emitting high levels of pollutants. Now, these motorists are joining forces to seek justice and hold the manufacturers accountable for what they believe is deceptive conduct.

In 2015, Volkswagen admitted to installing “defeat devices” in their cars, which lowered the nitrous oxide emissions readings. Many consumers who bought these vehicles felt they were misled. Volkswagen paid out £193 million to claimants, roughly £2,000 per person.

Now, other car manufacturers are facing similar legal claims. If you own a diesel car and believe you were affected, you might be eligible to considering making a claim. However, before you do, you should know some important things. Legal claims can be costly, so it’s crucial to understand all the details before filing one.

In this article, we will explain every detail about the diesel emission claim.


Should you file a diesel emissions claim?

Ultimately, the decision to make a claim is yours. It’s crucial to understand the advantages and disadvantages before proceeding, since success is not guaranteed.

Also, be aware that if your claim fails and your law firm doesn’t have insurance, you might have to pay a fee.

Finally, consider whether you’ve genuinely suffered a loss. The process can take years, and there’s no assurance of winning.

Which vehicles can you claim for?

Legal firms suggest that customers of several car brands may have been affected, although manufacturers deny these claims. Some of the brands involved include Audi, BMW, Hyundai, Citroen, Fiat, Ford, Jaguar, Kia, Land Rover, Mini, Mercedes, Nissan, Porsche, Peugeot, Renault, Chrysler, Suzuki, Seat, Vauxhall, Volkswagen, Skoda, and Volvo.

Volkswagen is the only manufacturer that has already paid out £192 million to settle 91,000 claims in England and Wales, including claims related to its brands Audi, Seat, and Skoda. However, according to MoneySavingExpert, you may still be eligible to claim for other affected brands.

Are you eligible to make a diesel emissions claim?

If you owned a diesel vehicle or van manufactured between 2007 and 2020 in England and Wales, you might qualify to join a group legal claim.

To be eligible, your vehicle should have been:

  • Purchased new or second-hand
  • Leased
  • Provided to you as a company car under your name

You don’t need to still own the vehicle. You can make the claim for your previously owned diesel car if that meets the criteria. However, it’s important to note that solicitors in some states cannot take on cases on a “no win, no fee” basis, so you might need to pay upfront.

Your claim must be based on a financial loss caused by any misrepresentation by the company regarding its vehicles’ diesel emissions. For instance, if you paid more because you believed you were buying an environmentally friendly car or if your vehicle had to be fixed later to comply with emissions standards, resulting in poorer performance or a lower resale value.

Legal firms typically take a percentage of any compensation, usually between 30-50%. You can only join one claim per vehicle and must join the claim in the country where you bought or leased the vehicle, regardless of where you currently live. 

Rules may differ in various parts of the UK. You may not be eligible to claim if you purchased your vehicle outside the UK.

How can I make a diesel emissions claim and how long will it take?

The most practical option is to consider joining a claim, as pursuing independent legal action can be expensive. You might have seen advertisements inviting diesel vehicle owners to join group claims against manufacturers.

Several law firms have set up dedicated websites where you can provide details about your vehicle to determine if you qualify. These cases have been ongoing for several years. If you’re considering making a claim, you should wait until there’s a court judgment against a manufacturer, as you can then proceed with your claim.

If you decide to make a claim, be sure to research the law firm you choose carefully and stay updated on any developments.

Keep in mind that a claim can take up to five years or longer to process, so be prepared for the process to take time.

What to keep in mind when choosing a law firm

Before you sign up, do your research. Check reviews on websites like Trustpilot to get an idea of the firm’s reputation. Some firms may have better reviews than others, especially for emissions claims.

If you’re looking for a firm that takes cases on a “no win, no fee” basis, you can go to They provide introductory services to law firms specializing in helping people who owned a diesel vehicle between 2009 and 2020.

Online forums and social media groups created by motorists pursuing claims can also be valuable sources of information.

What are the risks involved in making a diesel claim?

Most firms operate on a “no win, no fee” basis (except potentially in Northern Ireland), so you won’t have to pay anything upfront.

However, if your claim is unsuccessful, you may be liable for legal costs if the firm doesn’t have “after the event insurance.” Make sure to ask about this cover and any potential legal costs before you sign up.

You have a 14-day cooling-off period after signing up, during which you can cancel easily. After this period, canceling may require more paperwork and could involve fees. Carefully review all paperwork you receive and keep all communications with the firm in writing.

What happens if the claim proceeds?

If your claim progresses, you may be asked for additional details, like proof of ownership or financial agreements. However, the chances of needing a full witness statement or attending court are slim.

How much could I receive from a successful diesel claim?

VW’s payouts have ranged in the thousands, but there’s no guarantee you’ll receive the same. After successfully being able to go through the legal procedure, the exact amount you’ll get is hard to predict.

Even if your law firm believes you’re eligible for compensation, the court might reduce the amount. If the case is settled outside of court, you might receive a lower payout.


If you believe you were misled about your diesel vehicle’s emissions, you may be eligible to join a group legal claim. While pursuing a claim can be daunting, it’s essential to understand the process and weigh the risks and benefits carefully.

Joining a group claim is often the most practical option, as it can be costly to pursue independent litigation. Look for a reputable law firm with experience in diesel emissions claims and do your research before signing up. 

Keep in mind that while most firms operate on a “no win, no fee” basis, there may be legal costs if your claim is unsuccessful and the firm doesn’t have insurance.

Remember, success is not guaranteed, and the amount you receive from a successful claim can vary. However, if you believe you’ve suffered a financial loss due to misrepresentation by a car manufacturer, pursuing a claim may be worth considering.

We highly recommend you take your time, weigh the risks and benefits, and seek advice if needed. By understanding the process and being informed, you can make the best decision for your situation.

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