How Does Your Insurance Company Determine Fault After a Car Accident?

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  • After you report a motor vehicle accident to your insurance company, they will investigate the circumstances and make a fault determination. Drivers found at fault for a car accident will often see their insurance rates go up, and many drivers are unclear on how fault is determined.

    The Fault Determination Rules

    In Ontario, fault is assessed based on a regulation made under the Insurance Act which was created to help insurers make consistent, predictable findings regarding fault. The Fault Determination Rules describe over forty different accident configurations, and uses illustrations to cover almost every type of accident between two or more vehicles.

    Being charged by the police, or having the police say that there was “no fault” on the part of either driver does not have any influence on the insurance company’s findings. An investigation will include police reports, but there are not determinative.

    What are the implications of being found at fault after a car accident?

    Fault is apportioned in increments of 25% and can be either shared, or 100% allocated to one driver, depending on the situation. Being more than 0% at fault for an accident will remain on your record, and likely increase your insurance premiums.

    If you disagree with your insurance company’s findings, it is possible to dispute their determination of fault. Your adjuster can provide information about the company procedure for requesting a review of the findings, and giving evidence in favour of a revised determination.

    What are the implications of fault determination on potential personal injury claims?

    The Fault Determination Rules are a tool created by statute to assist insurers. They are not representative of the common law of negligence, nor do they always accurately reflect the true balance of fault at common law.

    Accordingly, even if you were injured and your insurer found you 100% at fault, there may be still grounds for a claim against the other driver(s) to recover damages for your injuries. However, this can be a more difficult claim to advance, and the defendant driver will argue that the insurance rules should be relied upon.

    Toronto personal injury specialists advising injured accident victims

    An experienced personal injury lawyer is the best choice for bringing any claim for damages after a car accident, especially if you were found partially or totally at fault by your insurance company.

    Jasmine Daya & Co. has over four decades of experience litigation on behalf of injured plaintiffs, and specialize in handling complex motor vehicle claims. We offer free consultations to new clients, and will help you determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit. Contact us today to discuss your child’s potential claim, either online, or by calling our office at 416-967-9100.