Fault or no-fault accident ?

Fault or no-fault accident ?

How do insurers establish the liability of each party involved in a collision? Do different insurers use different methods? And most importantly, how does it affect claims settlement?

National Bank General Insurance
05 December 2015

The same rules for everyone

In Quebec, one of the mandates of the Groupement des Assureurs Automobiles (GAA) is to simplify how auto claims are settled. All insurers providing automobile insurance in Quebec are part of it and follow its guidelines. GAA developed the Joint Report and the Direct Compensation Agreement (DCA), a guide that is used by all insurers to establish the liability of drivers involved in a collision.

The DCA is a short document, available to download for free on GAA’s website. It describes just about every possible accident scenario: vehicle leaving a parking space, stopped vehicle, one or several lanes… most types of collisions are accounted for. The chart provides for a variety of situations for each vehicle and point of impact. Liability is established at 0%, 50% or 100 %.

The easiest example is probably that of a car that strikes another vehicle stopped at a red traffic light from the rear. According to the DCA, the vehicle stopped at the red traffic light has 0% liability and the one that came from behind has 100% liability.

The three rules of no-fault

According to the DCA, in addition to the situation and point of impact, a no-fault collision has to occur: in Quebec (1) between at least two vehicles (2) in which the owners are identified (3). So this cannot apply to a hit and run, a collision in Vermont or a collision with a tree. Of course, this doesn’t mean you are necessarily at fault!

For instance, a hit and run will be considered as 0% liability but it will not be a no-fault collision. The difference is with claims settlement and how the deductible will be applied.

Claiming according to liability

In the event of a collision, a different coverage applies depending on liability. In Quebec, all vehicles on the road are required to have at least civil liability insurance (be insured “on one side”). This protection will pay for not-at-fault collisions, with no deductible, but it will not pay in case of an at-fault accident. To be covered, the insured must have chosen collision coverage (be insured “on both sides”), and then the deductible specified in the policy applies.

What if an accident is 50% at fault? Then half will be paid by the civil liability insurance, no deductible, and the other half by collision coverage, with 50% of the applicable deductible.

For more information or to view the DCA online, visit the GAA website.

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