A tribunal in Vancouver has rejected a man’s claim that he should be paid $3,000 because of damage to his car from a pothole on Highway 99.
The applicant, Tim Brumby, claimed Mainroad Lower Mainland Contracting Ltd. was negligent in preventing and repairing potholes on the highway. He claimed $1,525 for the car tow and new tires, and $1,475 for his time and the loss of use of his car during repairs.
Sarah Orr, a member at Civil Resolution Tribunal rejected the negligence claim, saying Brumble failed to establish clearly that the contracting company was negligent in preventing or failing to repair the pothole he hit while travelling on Highway 99.
Brumble had not provided any evidence of damage, which further eroded the claim.
“The applicant says his car required a tow, and he had to replace all four tires and repair the rims. He says he made an insurance claim and paid a $300 deductible. However, he provided no evidence of the extent of the damage to his car, the cost of repairing it, or his insurance claim, even though I expect such evidence would be easily obtainable,” Orr said in her decision.
Brumble was driving northbound on Highway 99 when he struck a deep pothole after exiting a tunnel. He says the traffic was heavy that day and he was travelling 35 kilometers per hour, below the posted speed limit. Even if he had seen the pothole, there was no way he could have avoided it.
Even though Orr rejected his claim, she did agree that Brumble called the contractor, who fixed the pothole in 24 hours, as required by law on a Class 1 Highway, which Highway 99 is.
Both parties agreed that repair work was done; their disagreement was on what caused the pothole and who was ultimately responsible for it.
Brumble claims the contractor was negligent because there were leaks at both ends of the tunnel causing excess water on the road, which led to potholes. He claimed a senior employees of Mainland Contracting told him there was a problem with the water table pressure and issues with construction of the tunnel. That employees claimed the Ministry of Transportation did not want to pay for the repairs.
The contractor gave a different reason to the tribunal: During the winter months, at the end of the tunnel, hydrostatic water pressure pushes through the layers of concrete and asphalt, and the freeze-thaw cycle combined with heavy traffic causes conditions in which potholes could form within minutes.
What was required to fix this problem was beyond the scope of the contract with the province, Mainland Contracting argued and the Tribunal agreed.
Tribunal member Orr also rejected Brumble’s suggestion that there needed to be more signs warning drivers of potholes. The contractor said the signage was discussed with the ministry, but it was determined that adding more signage would only confuse drivers.
Brumble’s claim for $3,000 and his advice for signage was both rejected by the tribunal. “The applicant is responsible for proving his claim. I find he has not done so, and I dismiss it,” said Tribunal member Orr.