FAQ

ABOUT THE CASE VS. MERCEDES:

What is this case about?
How do cases like this work?
What did Mercedes do?
What evidence is there?
What are other Mercedes owners doing about this?
Is this a scam? How can Hagens Berman reassure me?

ELIGIBILITY:

Which vehicles are thought to be affected by the Mercedes diesel emissions scandal?
Must the vehicles have been purchased in the UK?
Can businesses and individuals owning eligible vehicles register their interest?
Are original purchasers and subsequent owners of vehicles eligible?
What if I’m based in Scotland, Northern Ireland, The Channel Islands or the Isle of Man?
Can I still register if I’ve already had my vehicle ‘fixed’ by Mercedes for emissions compliance?
If I sell my Mercedes vehicle, does that mean that I can no longer bring a claim?

DOCUMENTATION:

What documentation do I need to sign up?
What documents will I need to produce later?
What if I cannot find the needed documents?
I have my documents ready. Can I submit my documentation now?

WHY HAGENS BERMAN:

Why should I join the Hagens Berman action group rather than that of another law firm?

COMPENSATION:

How much will it cost me to register interest and later to be part of any formal claim you bring?
Can you give an estimate of what level of compensation I can expect based on the experience of the settlement of the US case?
Will I have to pay anything if the claim is unsuccessful?
What is a realistic compensation amount? I have seen very different estimates being advertised.

CASE PROCESS:

What is the legal process you envisage and how long will it take?
Will any claim be filed in the UK or against Mercedes’ parent company Daimler AG in Germany?
How does the case Hagens Berman aims to prepare compare and differ to those planned by other law firms?
Can I register my interest with more than one group?

REGISTRATION:

What does registering my details and retaining Hagens Berman UK commit me to?
What is the cut-off date for registering?
Will everyone that registers automatically go forward to the Group Litigation Action?
How many potential claimants do you need to form a viable group?
What will you do with my data?
What happens after registration? When can I expect to hear from you?

What is ATE insurance?

What is a damages-based agreement?

 


 

ABOUT THE CASE VS. MERCEDES:

What is this case about?
This group action involves allegations against Mercedes that it installed an illegal emission-cheating defeat device in its diesel vehicles. The lawsuit in essence argues that because of this illicit activity, consumers who leased or owned affect vehicles and fleets were damaged in performance of the vehicle, contributing to pollution, did not get what they were promised and overpaid for their vehicles. The vehicles were represented to be one thing (a “clean vehicle”) and were indeed something else, capable of generating very high pollution. Deceived consumers deserve to have these wrongs corrected and compensation for their having been wronged.

The device operated to hide the illegally high emissions in Mercedes’ vehicles by masking the rate of emissions produced during emissions testing, while otherwise emitting pollution at levels far exceeding regulations and legal limits.

This information was first investigated and divulged in a U.S. class-action lawsuit brough by law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. The firm was the first to file emissions-cheating claims against Volkswagen. After that case, Hagens Berman tested additional diesel cars, finding that Mercedes too had engaged in illegal emissions cheating in a similar fashion. The U.S. lawsuit against Mercedes resulted in a £500 million settlement for U.S. consumers.

How do cases like this work?
Cases of this nature are complex as they involve a global Defendant with a strong economic interest to fight against doing the right thing but operate generally the same: a set of representative individuals who have been typically harmed stands as a proxy for the entire group of individuals who have also had a similar experience. Strength in numbers allows many individually harmed consumers to band together under the law to challenge the wrongdoing by large corporations.

After the case is filed, attorneys gather evidence and progress the case through attempts by the defendant to defeat the case. This process involves expert evaluation, procedural challenges and regular court hearings; it is not atypical for these types of complex cases to take years, with thousands of hours of litigation. Attorneys remain vigilant during the case to make the best case for their clients for a maximum recovery. In the event of a settlement, claimants are then notified of their compensation under the agreement between the parties.

What did Mercedes do?
Mercedes programmed the majority of their diesel models to reduce the vehicles’ illegally high levels of nitrogen oxide when the vehicles were being tested for emissions.

Indeed, testing at highway speeds, at low temperatures, and at variable speeds, indicate a systemic failure to meet emissions standards. Low-temperature testing at highway speeds for example, produced emissions that were 8.1 to 19.7 times the highway emissions standard. The US lawsuit argued that testing at low temperatures at variable speeds produced emissions as high as 30.8 times the standard.

What evidence is there?
In 2020, a £1.5 billion agreement in principle regarding Mercedes’ diesel vehicles was reached, culminating investigations brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Office and California attorney general. The agreement includes a £500 million settlement for U.S. consumers impacted by loss of resale value and other damages resulting from Mercedes’ emissions fraud. This is on top of sanctions, fines, fees and recalls issued against Mercedes by other EU Regulators.

What are other Mercedes owners doing about this?
Tens of thousands of Mercedes owners have contacted Hagens Berman UK LLP to register their claim in the group action. Many who purchased their diesel vehicles are motivated to receive compensation. Mercedes owners may opt to do nothing, however, it is still legally unknown whether all Mercedes owners will eventually be affected by settlements and efforts to fix the emissions systems in their vehicles, or remove them from the road to reduce pollution and therefore, for those interested in receiving compensation, it is essential to register a claim.

Is this a scam? How can Hagens Berman reassure? 
While Mercedes’ emissions-cheating certainly functioned to scam consumers, regulators and the environment, our group action against Mercedes is anything but. Indeed, Hagens Berman UK has a specialized practice in litigating these types of cases as they not only impact the environment, but also impact so many unsuspecting consumers. Hagens Berman UK is committed to holding Mercedes accountable.

That commitment is reflected in the firm’s independent testing by our own experts to support the allegation, work with our Barrister to formalize the claim and file proceedings against Mercedes and allocation of substantial resources to litigating the case. Further, due to the firm’s track record of success and sprawling resources, our firm received insurance and funding, in this case, enabling us to issue the claim on your behalf on a ‘no-win, no-fee’ basis. Simply put: there is no risk or cost to you to join this action, and your information will be used only for the purpose of this case. If you’d like to contact a member of our team, you may do so via email at info@mercedes-dieselclaims.co.uk or via phone at 0203 150 1445 (Standard UK call charges apply).

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ELIGIBILITY:

Which vehicles are thought to be affected by the Mercedes diesel emissions scandal?
Certain of the following Mercedes models powered by diesel-fuelled engines and sold from 2008 up to 2018: A-Class, B-Class, C-Class, Citan, CLA, CLS, E-Class, GL-Class, GLA-Class, GLC-Class, GLE-Class, GLS, GLK, M-Class, S-Class, SLK, Sprinter, V-Class, and Vito (however, additional models are likely to have released dirty diesel emissions). These models include passenger and commercial vehicles and vans, such as people movers, shuttles and taxis.

Must the vehicles have been purchased in the UK?
Yes.

Can businesses and individuals owning eligible vehicles register their interest?
Yes, both private owners and business owners (such as fleet operators and hire care companies) can register. Lessees are also eligible.

Are original purchasers and subsequent owners of vehicles eligible?
Yes, since the deception will have affected the purchase price for both parties and may have affected the on-going running costs of the vehicle while under the ownership of both.

What if I’m based in Scotland, Northern Ireland, The Channel Islands or the Isle of Man?
Hagens Berman will only be investigating claims for owners and lessees of relevant Mercedes models bought or leased in England and Wales.

If you are based in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man and you bought or leased your Mercedes diesel vehicle in England or Wales, please register to join our winning team, and we shall be able to help you with your claim.

If your vehicle was purchased elsewhere, please register in case we expand to include litigation in your region; alternatively, you could seek to join an action group where your rights are protected, and any claim is to be governed by the relevant law in your jurisdiction.

Can I still register if I’ve already had my vehicle ‘fixed’ by Mercedes for emissions compliance?
Yes, that is no bar to a claim regarding a mis-sold vehicle.

If I sell my Mercedes vehicle, does that mean that I can no longer bring a claim?
You can sell your car now or at any time in the future. Selling or replacing your car will not affect any claim that you may have, if your vehicle is an affected diesel vehicle. You must, however, have your vehicle registration number / VIN and be able to provide us with your vehicle purchase documents.

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DOCUMENTATION:

What documentation do I need to sign up?
Here’s the only information you will need upon signing up via the Register Now form:

  • title
  • name
  • address
  • date of birth – in order to perform electronic KYC ‘know your client’ process & AML ‘anti-money laundering’ checks
  • vehicle registration number – to check if it has been affected

We do not need any documentation or proof of purchase at this stage.

What documents will I need to produce later?
In due course, we may ask for proof of ownership in order to link you to your vehicle. There may also be a need for other supporting documents required for the litigation, proving your loss. If and when this need surfaces, we will correspond directly with you.

What If I cannot find the needed documents?
Don’t worry, you can still register now. Many people don’t have access to all the documents that are required, with this in mind, Hagens Berman UK has a streamlined process in place that aims to collect information from other available sources to assist you.

If, and when, we do require additional documents, we will liaise directly with you via email or telephone. At this stage, you don’t need to worry about having documentation readily available for our lawyers to review in order to proceed with your claim.

I have my documents ready. Can I submit my documentation now?
You do not need to submit any documentation for now. We would kindly ask you to keep all documentation you do have relating to your affected Mercedes diesel vehicle safe and secure. Our team will be in touch with you in due course to ask some additional questions and you may need to consult your paperwork in order to answer the questions accurately.

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WHY HAGENS BERMAN:

Why should I join the Hagens Berman action group rather than that of another law firm?
We are aware other English law firms are also investigating the basis of a claim against Mercedes in the UK for diesel emissions deception but cannot speak for their plans. What we can say is that we are the firm that led the charge for dieselgate claims against both Volkswagen and Mercedes in the US and successfully secured compensation in that respect for US based Mercedes owners, as announced on 13 August 2020. We believe our in-depth scientific evidence and US legal experience will be highly relevant to any English law claim and will help us to establish liability under English law. We are also seeking to bring our business focus and commercial litigation experience to bear on this case, which includes substantial experience in civil fraud cases, and in acting for groups of claimants in funded claims against major corporations.

As such we hope to represent a sizeable group and play a lead role in the claims and arguments to be heard against Mercedes here.

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COMPENSATION:

How much will it cost me to register interest and later to be part of any formal claim you bring?
Registration of interest requires no financial commitment and there will be no out-of-pocket cost to participate in any subsequent Group Litigation Action. The case will be conducted on a no-win, no-fee basis, meaning upon successful settlement or judgment in England and Wales, claimants will receive an agreed percentage of the total recovered from Mercedes. This will be explained and addressed in the participation documents which you will be asked to sign.

Can you give an estimate of what level of compensation I can expect based on the experience of the settlement of the US case?
At this early stage, it is difficult to predict the amount of compensation you will ultimately receive. This will depend on the purchase price, age, model and specific characteristics of your vehicle. However, we anticipate that claimants could recover compensation from Mercedes in the broad range of £5,000 to £10,000 per vehicle, and possibly higher. This is very much an estimated range and by no means guaranteed for each group member.

Will I have to pay anything if the claim is unsuccessful?
In short, no. If we are unsuccessful, we will not charge you for our fees or the costs we have incurred for prosecuting your case. We have significant After-The-Event (ATE) Insurance in place to protect our claimant group. This covers the Defendants' legal costs, which will protect you from being liable for those costs. The cost of the ATE insurance premium is a cost that we bear and is one of the factors taken into account when determining the solicitors’ share of the damages if we are successful, which will be no more than 35%.

What is a realistic compensation amount? I have seen very different estimates being advertised.
At Hagens Berman, we like to take a pragmatic approach and keep the expectations for compensation realistic for all of our claimants. In these cases, it is always difficult to predict the amount of compensation each individual will receive. The total amount of compensation will depend on a number of factors. However, we anticipate that claimants could recover compensation from Mercedes in the broad range of £5,000 - £10,000 per vehicle, and possibly even higher. Of course, this is only an estimated range and not guaranteed for each group member.

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CASE PROCESS:

What is the legal process you envisage and how long will it take?
As of April 2021, we have filed proceedings and been granted permission to serve the Claim against Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes, in Germany. We have also served the Claim Form and Particulars of Claim – setting out the facts, basis of claim and what we are seeking in terms of compensation for our claimants – on the Mercedes entities in England. We are currently fighting the Defendants in the Court because they are resisting having to file and serve their Defences to our Claim.

These types of cases are complicated litigations with the Defendants mounting lots of challenges because they realise the damage potential is so great. In our experience group claims of this nature can take time to progress in Court as there will be many procedural and legal arguments made. We will be sure to keep you informed as the progress; you should expect however a minimum of 2-3 years, though there is still some uncertainty given the pandemic. We make every effort to streamline the litigation and will advocate on your behalf to resolve this case timely, while still securing the best possible result for you.

Will any claim be filed in the UK or against Mercedes’ parent company Daimler AG in Germany?
We anticipate the case will be against Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz Cars UK Limited, the main UK subsidiary, (and possibly also Mercedes-Benz Financial Services UK Limited, which provides finance for leasing customers). The claim(s) will be filed in the High Court under English law.

How does the case Hagens Berman aims to prepare compare and differ to those planned by other law firms?
We are aware other English law firms are also investigating the basis of a claim against Mercedes in the UK for diesel emissions deception but cannot speak for their plans. What we can say is that we are the firm that led the charge for Dieselgate claims against both Volkswagen and Mercedes in the US and successfully secured compensation in that respect for US-based Mercedes owners, as announced on 13 August 2020. We believe our in-depth scientific evidence and US legal experience will be highly relevant to any English law claim and will help us to establish liability under English law. We are also seeking to bring our business focus and commercial litigation experience to bear on this case, which includes substantial experience in civil fraud cases, and in acting for groups of claimants in funded claims against major corporations.

Can I register my interest with more than one group?
At this stage there is nothing to stop you registering your interest with more than one law firm, although we believe that your interests will be best protected by joining our group. However, you will need to choose which Group Litigation Action to join at a later date when the participation documents are provided to you and the respective claims have been explained to you and before formal claims are filed.

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REGISTRATION:

What does registering my details and retaining Hagens Berman UK commit me to?
Registering your details, completing the registration process, and asking us to represent you will enable you to be part of our group action against Mercedes and for us to officially represent you in court against Mercedes. When you retain us, you will have fourteen (14) days to change your mind should you decide to do so. After the 14 days, we then add your registration to our claim with the court. You may still change your mind later on, however, there may be nominal costs of doing so as we would have to formally notify the court and defendants and file certain motions of withdraw. We strive to do everything we can to ensure you are happy with our service and are confident in our ability to represent you. Should you have any questions or issues, we would be delighted to hear from you and work through them for you.

What is the cut-off date for registering?
While there is not currently a cut-off date, we encourage interested parties to register as soon as possible for full compensation eligibility. We started formal legal action against Mercedes in March 2021 and will be submitting a schedule of losses to the court. It is generally advantageous to retain counsel early on so your rights will be preserved and represented. There is a statute of limitations and registering early will ensure your claim is preserved.

Will everyone that registers automatically go forward to the Group Litigation Action?
Yes, completing your registration with our simple online process and enabling us to represent you will allow Hagens Berman UK to pursue your claim on your behalf.  The process is explained fully prior to retaining us and once you are happy you will be prompted to accept the documents.

How many potential claimants do you need to form a viable group?
Every client is important and deserving of representation.  We estimate that there are up to 1.2 million affected vehicle owners in England and Wales, including private and business owners who are considered among current and former owners and lessees. We have met the minimum required to form a group as there have been so many consumers affected by Mercedes use of defeat devices.

What will you do with my data?
Your data will be held on a secure contact database managed by Case Pilots Ltd on behalf of Hagens Berman UK, operated in accordance with UK data protection rules. It may only be shared with our approved and vetted service providers working on this case to assist us, for example, if the court orders us to do a postal mailing to clients. Further details about how your data may be used can be found in our privacy policy.

What happens after registration? When can I expect to hear from you?
After your registration process, you will be contacted with important updates as the case progresses. We will also be in regular contact with those registered with us, to keep you up to date with any news updates and progress on the case.

What is ATE Insurance?

ATE insurance is an insurance policy taken out by Hagens Berman UK on your behalf to ensure you have the best protection against the risk of having to pay Mercedes’ costs.  In any litigation in the UK there is a risk of the loser having to pay towards the winner’s costs. Insurance generally covers those costs and therefore protects you in the unlikely event this should happen. Our view is that the merits of the claim are strong and expect that this will not be an issue, however, we believe in doing everything we can to protect our clients and ATE insurance provides that extra comfort.

What is a damages-based agreement?

The damages-based agreement is an important document which sets out our responsibilities to you and your responsibilities to us so we can litigate on your behalf. It outlines that we do not charge any fees unless the case is successful. You do not pay us any money unless you cancel our engagement with you and we incurred direct work on your behalf. This is a no-win, no-fee case. The DBA is a contract and legal document laying out details of our efforts to support you and what we ask for in return. Contact us if you would like help understanding any of its terms.

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