October 1, 2019 by Greg Meckbach
A motorist seeking nearly $4,000 for a vehicle that was allegedly damaged while being towed cannot recover the money from either the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia or BCAA Insurance Corporation, the province’s civil resolution tribunal has ruled.
In October, 2018, Cornel Ardeleanu had his 2010 Volkswagen Tiguan towed to a dealer after the vehicle displayed warnings of a faulty engine. Ardeleanu claims the towing company driver improperly towed the Volkswagen on its rear wheels. As a result, Ardeleanu claims, there was $3,721.99 worth of damage to the Haldex unit (part of the all-wheel drive system).
Neither the allegations that the vehicle was improperly towed nor the that damage occurred as a result were proven before the CRT.
BCAA Insurance Corporation responded to the recovery request and had the vehicle towed by Coquitlam Towing & Storage Co. Ltd.
Ardeleanu went to the CRT in an attempt to recover under an ICBC auto policy. He also sought recovery from BCAA and Volkswagen Group Canada Inc. Coquitlam Towing is not named in the dispute.
CRT member Trisha Apland ruled against Ardeleanu. On the issue of ICBC coverage, she found that the Autoplan Optional policy excludes damage to the client’s own vehicle caused by mechanical fracture, failure or breakdown. “If the mechanical breakdown was caused by the negligence of another driver, the applicant would need to bring an action against that other driver,” wrote Apland.
She also ruled Ardeleanu cannot cover from BCCA. For one thing, Ardeleanu does not have a contractual relationship with BCCA. Although a contractual relationship is not required for a company to owe a person a duty of care, even if BCCA did owe Ardeleanu a duty of care, Ardeleanu did not convince the CRT that BCAA breached a standard of care or caused the loss.
“There is no evidence that BCAA engaged a company that it knew or should have known was not competent or trained to tow,” wrote Apland.
In any case, BCAA said it had the vehicle inspected by a third-party transmission shop, which reported it saw no damage due to towing.
As for Volkswagen, the auto manufacturer provided the roadside assistance through an external provider but there is nothing in emailed correspondence between Ardeleanu and Volkswagen about indemnifying Ardeleanu from any loss caused by the recovery service, said Apland.
So Ardeleanu did not convince the CRT that Volkswagen, in giving him free roadside assistance service, had a duty of care to ensure his vehicle would not be damaged, Apland found.