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B.C. man loses ICBC car wash backing-up dispute

Thomas Eleizegui said the car wash gave him a prompt to back up — so he did, striking the vehicle behind him.
Tribunal member didn't need to consider ICBC fault-finding in case.

A man who allegedly caused an accident in a B.C. car wash by backing up into another car has lost his case against ICBC.

A B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal April 6 decision said Thomas Lamberto Eleizegui, and a third party, F, were involved in a minor collision at an automated car wash in June 2021.

Eleizegui claimed ICBC incorrectly held him 100 per cent responsible for the accident.

He claimed $5,000 in damages for having to go to court to contest a violation ticket, various expenses, and for time spent away from his business development projects, family and friends.

He also asked for an order that ICBC retract its decision about fault in the accident.

Tribunal vice-chair Andrea Ritchie said she was dismissing the case because Eleizegui provided no proof for his claims.

On June 30, 2021, Eleizegui was going through the car wash when he noticed a prompt advising him to “back up.” In response, he put his vehicle into reverse.

Eleizegui said he was unable to see F’s vehicle due to soap covering his car. His rear bumper struck F’s front bumper, Ritchie said.

Eleizegui said F entered the car wash when it wasn't his turn and that F should not have been so close to his vehicle.

F said they were stopped at the car wash’s pay machine, still waiting in their vehicle, getting ready to pay.

After the car wash completed, Eleizegui said he waited for F to come talk to him, but they never showed up.

Later that night, a police officer attended Eleizegui’s home and gave him a violation ticket for “unsafe backing” and hit and run.

“After discussing it with the police officer, the officer undisputedly struck out the citation for hit and run,” Ritchie said.

Eleizegui appealed the violation ticket in traffic court. The tribunal ruled that even though the judge in that court found him not guilty, the case was ultimately dismissed because it was not going to be pursued by the officer. 

Ritchie said that is not the same as “not guilty.” She added a determination of “not guilty” in traffic court would not be determinative of liability in a civil case.

However, she dismissed the case because Eleizegui “provided no supporting evidence or submissions about his claimed losses, such as receipts for his alleged expenses, how much time was lost, or the value of that time.”

As such, she said, he did not prove he was entitled to any compensation.

"So, as there are no proven damages, I do not need to consider whether ICBC properly or reasonably assessed and assigned fault for the June 30, 2021 accident,” Ritchie said.