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Gasoline leak

So a gas leak is discovered in a van at a MA rest area. The owner calls AAA to have it towed, informing them of the gasoline odor and visible leak under the motor. AAA certified towing company arrives, is likewise shown and informed of problem. They proceed to load van and deliver it to local garage. Owner follows. Tow truck driver has owner pull keys, lock van, and drop keys in drop slot with no note. No forms available. It is 3pm Sunday afternoon. The garage is closed. Tow truck leaves. Owner leaves.

Next morning garage owner finds keys, and proceeds to move the van. It IGNITES!!! …no one hurt or killed - thank God. Total loss of van - near perfect condition VW Westfalia Camper r.i.p. :frowning:

Q: Is anyone responsible to disable the vehicle, so that this would not have happened? Should the engine have been “neutralized” from the gasoline by AAA/towing service? Can AAA be held accountable, since it was in their care to be towed?

Someone’s insurance should cover this, question is whose? The AAA tow operator needs to leave a note informing the garage of the problem, specifically the gas leak. Therefore I expect the owner’s insurance and the AAA tow company insurer are going to be the primary payers on this claim.

The person who removed the keys and locked the van should have left a note on the dashboard or instrument panel so that no one would try to start the van.

Surely there was some scrap of paper in the camper or the tow truck, and a pencil or pen with which to write a simple note.

Removing the fuel pump fuse would have been another option.

The tow truck driver is only responsible for towing the vehicle.

Do you have comprehensive coverage?

In my opinion it’s the vehicle owners fault. Somewhere during this process the vehicle owner should have procured a piece of paper and left at least one note; preferably two. One in the driver’s seat and another with the keys as they went through the slot.

This is all being dumped off on the tow truck driver (maybe the guy is not even mechanically inclined and has no idea how to disable anything) and the shop owner, who walks in on Monday morning to find a van cluttering up the premises while having no idea why it’s even there.

Lack of paper and pen is no excuse either. Borrowing that from the tow truck driver is a possibility and failing that, a short jog to a nearby store could have solved the paper/pen situation.

“Tow truck driver has owner pull keys, lock van, and drop keys in drop slot with no note”

Hmmmm…Interesting wording, wouldn’t you say?
The tow truck driver “has” the owner do something that was clearly not wise.
Did that AAA tow truck driver put a gun to the van owner’s head to force him/her to do as he suggested?
Yes, I am being facetious, simply because of the ludicrous nature of the statement.

No matter what type of mechanical problem a car has, it is unwise to assume that a mechanic will be sufficiently psychic to know what the vehicle’s problem is. And, when something with potential danger–such as a gasoline leak–is present, is is VERY unwise to assume that a mechanic has psychic powers.

Taking this to the next level, what if the mechanic’s shop was destroyed by fire as a result of the unlabeled van bursting into flames? A good attorney might be able to successfully argue that the van’s owner had left a hazardous vehicle on his property, and had failed to do anything to inform the mechanic of the hazardous nature of the vehicle. Ergo–the vehicle and the vehicle owner’s lack of warning were the proximate cause of a fire in the mechanic’s shop in this imaginary scenario.

In our society, it seems that nobody wants to be responsible for his own actions anymore. The van belonged to the person who posed the question. It did not belong to the AAA driver. No matter what the AAA driver may have suggested, it was ultimately the decision of the van’s owner regarding what to do in the drop-off process. The van owner’s decision to drop keys in a slot without leaving a note of any kind was a mistake, and no matter what the AAA driver may have suggested, the van’s owner could have done otherwise.

Velokraut, I am sorry for the loss that you suffered. However, to try to visit your bad decision on someone else is just one more indication of the growing trend in our society of people not accepting responsibility for their own actions.