Months after accidental acid spills on city roads led to thousands of vehicle damage claims, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has revealed that about 450 vehicles have been written off.
Two separate spill events occurred on April 10 and May 23, 2018 along a stretch of highway next to the city of Trail, BC. The tanker trucks that spilled the caustic substance were owned and operated by Westcan, while the sulphuric acid itself was from Teck Resources. As vehicles rode over the acid puddles formed from the spills, the corrosive substance eroded wheels, undercarriages, and other critical auto parts.
ICBC noted that there have been over 4,450 claims received following the spill incidents, but most of the affected vehicles were not severely damaged.
CBC News reported that ICBC is still in the early stages of a lawsuit against those liable for the spill, but no trial date has been set. The insurer last year filed a notice of civil claim against Teck Metals, Teck Resources, International Raw Materials, Westcan, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, the City of Trail, two drivers and the provincial government.
The insurer alleged in its suit that it had incurred “extraordinary expenses” in investigating and addressing the “enormous volume of claims resulting from the spills.” ICBC also alleged that the defendants failed to warn motorists to avoid the highway while it was contaminated with acid, that the acid was not properly secured, and that the facility and tankers were not properly inspected.
ICBC additionally alleged that when the spills occurred, there was no prompt response to the event, nor were there posted warnings or restrictions on public access. The defendants have also failed to take steps to prevent or reduce the risk of future spills, ICBC argued.
The insurer is seeking costs and damages to recoup the costs of the insurance payouts.