ICBC has started a lawsuit against a number of “negligent parties” related to the Trail acid spills.
To date, the B.C. insurer has received around 3,900 claims and inspected approximately 2,900 vehicles following the sulphuric acid spills, which occurred on April 10 and May 23 on a stretch of highway through Trail.
Hundreds of vehicles have been deemed as total losses. However, the insurer still has 1,000 vehicles to inspect, so a final number won’t be available for some time.
The BC insurer shared a media statement with the Trail Times early Wednesday.
“ICBC has filed a Notice of Civil Claim (NOCC), on behalf of our customers,” the release read. “Seeking financial relief for the loss of, or damage to, vehicles caused by the sulfuric acid spills in Trail earlier this year, as well as related costs and expenses.”
In the NOCC, the company listed three entities, or defendants, as “negligent parties.”
Collectively identified as “Corporate Defendants” are Westcan Bulk Transport, International Raw Materials (IRM), the U.S company that buys sulphuric acid from Teck, and Teck itself.
The two commercial truck drivers who operated the Westcan vehicles during the spills are also named in the claim, and identified as Christopher Hutchinson and “John Doe #1” (unknown name).
The City of Trail and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary are collectively named as the “Municipal Defendants.”
Lastly, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Ministry of Environment, are named and collectively identified as “Crown Defendants.”
ICBC says it was required to file the NOCC “to ensure that there was no argument available to any of the defendants that it was out of time for bringing this action.”
The insurer stated it “always has the right to consider recovering losses paid to our customers from any potential negligent party, and this is a standard step to take whenever there are costs to recover.”
This step was taken, in part, to mitigate any impact these events may have on insurance rates.
“The current financial pressures on both ICBC’s insurance rates and the corporation overall have been well documented,” the release read.
“To date, the losses claimed include hundreds of vehicles that ICBC has determined to be total losses as a result of exposure to sulfuric acid from the April 10 and May 23 spills.
As this is now before the courts, ICBC has no further comment to make at this time.”
At last count, 400+ vehicles, including the new regional district fire truck worth about $800,000, had been written off after inspections confirmed acid contamination.