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Volkswagen emission-cheating scandal and VW owners' recall rights

Owners of Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles may be able to pursue money damages for harm caused by the automakers' cheating scheme on emission standards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uncovered the scandal in Sept. 2015, angering VW owners, investors and environmentalists. The emission cheating scandal was not a mistake or oversight - it was deliberate.

"Our company was dishonest with the EPA, and the California Air Resources Board and with all of you," Volkswagen AG's U.S chief Michael Horn said at the unveiling of the 2016 Passat sedan. "We've totally screwed up."

Owners of VW diesel-engine vehicles manufactured between 2009 and 2015 are now left wondering, "How will Volkswagen make this right?"

Rights And Remedies For VW Diesel Engine Owners

The German-based automaker is planning to recall and fix 11 million vehicles beginning in January 2016. The vehicles and model years with defects include:

  • Audi A3, 2010 - 2015
  • Beetle, 2012 - 2015
  • Beetle Convertible, 2012 - 2015
  • Golf, 2010 - 2015
  • Golf Sportwagen, 2015
  • Jetta, 2009 - 2015
  • Jetta Sportwagen, 2009-2014
  • Passat, 2012-2015

Volkswagen has set aside more than $7 billion to cover recall costs. However, this will not fully compensate many VW owners, who have been cheated for as many as six years.

Volkswagen owners in the U.S. whose vehicles are subject to recall may pursue money damages through a lawsuit in U.S. courts. While VW's dishonesty is not in question, car owners who file suit still have the difficult task of carefully documenting their actual damages. Actual damages could include the adjusted cost of gasoline and loss of vehicle resale value, among other impacts. Failing to accurately state actual damages generally forfeits the plaintifff's right to recover them. In addition, there is a chance that punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, may be available.

While actual damages are designed to compensate the victim-plaintifff for the harm he or she suffered, punitive damages are designed to financially punish the wrongdoer for egregious acts, beyond the cost of remediation. Punitive damages would discourage Volkswagen from similar wrongdoing in the future, and also deter other auto manufacturers from reprehensible conduct.

Should You Take Legal Action Now?

While the legal fallout from the diesel-cheating scheme will likely take years to unfold, there is no reason to delay. To preserve your legal rights to pursue money damages, you need to file suit within two years of the date you discovered the injury. However, it is best to begin partnering with a VW diesel engine recall attorney early in the process.

Car recall cases are extremely complex. Seemingly minor decisions, like what court to file suit in, can impact the expense and outcome of your case. An experienced and reputable product liability lawyer will work on a contingency fee basis - absorbing all of the upfront legal expenses - and will avoid mistakes commonly made in class action litigation.

The Donahey Law Firm is accepting VW recall lawsuit cases in Ohio and northern Kentucky. We have handled many product liability cases since we opened our doors in 1968, from cases worth several thousands of dollars, to more than one million.

Our vehicle defect attorneys provide free case evaluations to victims of VW's emission-cheating scandal. Call 866-918-5886 or contact us online to claim your free case evaluation.

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