At Fault Claim

What is a fault accident?

When two vehicles collide, one vehicle is usually found to be "at fault", meaning that driver made the driving error which caused the accident. A claim can be ruled as 50-50 when it is unclear as to the liability. Some companies will rule that if the collision occurs in a parking lot then both vehicles are ruled at fault. The decisions as to who is at fault in such situations are made by your insurance adjuster.

Bear in mind that in a fault province or territory someone is always "at fault". So if this is a single car accident, you go off the road and into the ditch resulting in damage to your vehicle, you are at fault for the collision damage. This is why most people will not "ditch" the vehicle when coming upon an animal on the road. The impact with an animal is a Comprehensive claim with a much lower deductible. It is not rated as a fault accident on the collision premiums.

Certain situations will always be seen as "at fault". If you hit someone from behind (rear end) you will be "at fault". If you leave your car door open and a passing vehicle hits the door, you are "at fault".

What happens to my premiums?

Your driving record will be affected by such an incident. If you have a specific endorsement for accident forgiveness then your premium will likely not increase. If your claim involves damage to your vehicle then your collision deductible will be your share of the cost to repair your vehicle. If your accident costs are for property or injury (PLPD) then the deductible does not apply.

In certain cases people can choose to handle a claim privately rather then place the claim with insurance. If this is your choice then you need to be careful that you have a signed agreement stating that you have no further obligation or liability. This document would have to be very specific in referencing the date, time, location, vehicles involved and all people involved in the incident. All the people in all the vehicles would have to sign the agreement that there would be no follow up claims for injury to either persons or property.

If you have suffered an injury then you do need to address this through your insurance. There are procedures in place to be sure you get the proper care and follow up rehabilitation to restore your body as much as possible to the condition it was in before the accident occurred.

What if I don't want to involve insurance?

To settle a claim outside of the usual insurance channels is a decision to be very carefully considered. In some cases the underwriter for the insurance company of the driver who is at fault will consider allowing a repayment of the claim to protect the driving record. It is not an automatic, "yes". You should discuss your situation with your broker or agent.

If the driver who is at fault does not have insurance then you will have to contact your provincial insurance accident claims fund for any compensation.

What is a no fault claim?

When there is an automobile collision in all but three of the provinces – Quebec, Saskatchewan and Manitoba who have government-run automobile insurance there is a right to sue. This is a fault system. Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec have no-fault systems, which means there is no right to sue.

How does this affect me?

This type of auto insurance with the right to sue another party for damages caused by negligence is limited. There can be expanded first party benefits. This insurance for a person's financial losses resulting from an automobile accident are paid that person's own insurer regardless of who was at fault.

What about Ontario?

Ontario has a mixed automobile fault system. In Ontario you can sue if your injuries are deemed serious and permanent. Ontario does have a no fault system.

Insurance answer

Where you live will determine the type of insurance system you have. Sit down with your broker or agent and discuss what type of coverage you have. Understand the limitations so that you can make the best choices to protect yourself financially from law suits.