A driver at a Vernon car wash will have to swallow the vehicle damages he incurred there, after the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal dismissed his lawsuit due to a lack of evidence.
Jason Meeds filed the small court claim against ICBC and Skogies Enterprises, which operates the automatic car wash on Anderson Way. The car wash operates in a drive-thru fashion; vehicles drive into the car wash, hooking their left-side wheels into a track of two low, metal railings. Once inside the tunnel, the car is to be put in neutral while the track pulls the vehicle past cleaning equipment until it reaches the far (west) side.
A sign at the entrance warns: “Enter At Your Own Risk.”
In his application, Meeds said he was in the car wash when the driver in the car ahead of him — respondent June Fergusen — hit the brakes while in the automated portion of the car wash. The system then malfunctioned and Meeds’ vehicle was pushed into Ferguson’s, causing just over $2,000 in damage to his vehicle. Only Ferguson’s vehicle was insured by ICBC.
The tribunal dismissed the lawsuit seeking restitution for the damages to his vehicle.
The tribunal found all parties in agreement that Meeds’ vehicle struck something while in the automatic portion of the car wash, but exactly what took place is uncertain.
In the decision, Meeds admitted he couldn’t see the incident clearly at the point of contact through his soapy windshield. Ferguson told ICBC that “everything stopped” partway through the car wash, followed by three “bangs” from the rear of her vehicle, after which the track’s motion resumed.
Ferguson’s husband, who in the passenger seat, couldn’t get out to investigate because a brush was blocking the passenger door, but said it was in fact a large roller that made contact with Meeds’ vehicle, and no contact was made directly between the two vehicles. Her husband also said he found roller material on her trailer hitch
Ultimately, tribunal member Chad McCarthy found Meeds “has not met his burden of proving that Ms. Ferguson applied her brakes in the car wash, or otherwise stopped her vehicle’s forward progress, causing the alleged collision.”
ICBC and Ferguson argued that the onus was on Skogies, since the car wash malfunction led to the damage.
Despite not submitting a response to the dispute, Skogies had submitted witness statements and photos of the incident to ICBC. The tribunal found there was enough evidence to account for Skogies’ position in the matter.