Auto accidents have become an alarming incident these days. If you are a victim of traffic accidents in Alberta, you can sue the other driver. But the chances are high that the other party will not accept their fault. So, you have to prove the fault.
Determining the fault of the other party can be a challenging task. It is also an essential part of winning the lawsuit. So, how can you prove the fault of the other party?
The Canadian government has specific accident fault determination rules. They work as guidelines for the victims to get justice. This article will explain the auto accident fault determination rules in Alberta.
What is Meant by Car Accident Fault Determination?
Two parties are always involved in a car accident. One party would be the victim of the accident. And the other party would be the at-fault party of the accident. But often, both parties could be guilty of the accident.
Having said that, accidents will involve many damages. These damages can come to private properties, pain and suffering, and loss of wages. The guilty party must pay compensation for the damages. Thus, fault determination is essential in vehicular accidents.
Moreover, victims will also need to file insurance claims. They must prove that they were not at fault for the accident. Victims can only get insurance settlements by proving they had no fault. So, they need help from a lawyer. This also makes determining the fault of the guilty party a critical task.
Auto Accident Fault Determination Rules in Alberta
Determining accident fault can be a challenging process. Each country has its own set of fault determination rules. The same thing applies to Canada as well. And Alberta follows these rules to determine who is at fault.
Getting into these rules is very important. Sometimes both the parties involved in the accident will try to point fingers at each other. And there could be faults from both parties. In such situations, the set of rules can come handy.
There can be as many as 4 different factors to determine accident fault. Here is a brief discussion on them.
Negligence of the drivers
In this case, both the drivers should expect to be thoroughly checked. The first thing that the court will check is the driver’s negligence.
The court will determine whether there was negligent behaviour from any of the drivers. This part is essential to find out the reason for the accident as well. The driver that neglected any traffic rules would be the guilty one.
The next factor on the list is whether the negligence was willful or not. If a driver willfully neglects any traffic rule, that driver will be adjudged guilty. This also proves that the driver had little to no care for another human life.
It is normal for both drivers to be guilty of an auto accident, but one party can claim that the other party was reckless in driving. This also proves that the driver was negligent in following the traffic rules.
Violating safety measures and traffic rules
A reckless and negligent driver will ideally violate many safety measures. This involves driving faulty vehicles on the road. The vehicle may not have had proper headlights.
Also, the vehicle could have had brake failure or gas leakage-related problems. If this is the case, that driver will be guilty of the accident.
Willful or not, violation of traffic laws is always a serious crime. If this leads to an accident, the driver will be brought before the court. The court will rule out any decision in favour of the other party.
Fault Determination Rules for Insurance Companies
You can also make insurance claims for the auto accident you were involved in. Every insurance company will always find someone at fault. You may have been involved in a single-vehicle accident.
In such a situation, the insurance company will determine you as the guilty one. This can remain in your record of at-fault accident insurance.
In other complex situations, the rules are not so simple. The insurance company will consider many factors. The insurance company will always take the police report into account. So, it is best if you filed a police report right after the accident occurred.
Even so, Alberta auto insurance regulations have some common grounds. This can include the following three thumb rules:
You may have hit another car from behind. This has caused the accident and some form of damage. In this case, you will always be the one at fault.
You may have collided with another vehicle when taking a turn. If the car was in its own lane, you are at fault for the accident. The insurance company will not consider any other claim.
Whoever violates any traffic law is the guilty party without any questions. The insurance company will take this situation seriously. So, you have to prove that the other driver disobeyed a stop sign or red light.
Read Also: Insurance Claim Process for Car Accidents
Things to Do When You Disagree with the Fault Determination Decision
The insurance policy in Alberta should allow you to disagree with fault determination. You have a right to disagree and make an appeal against the decision. Most insurance companies will have some procedures to follow up with your appeal.
The first thing that can be done is to bring in a mediator. The third-party mediator can bring all the parties together. You can then discuss newer evidence. Every party involved in the accident must follow these instructions.
You can also appeal for a more in-depth investigation. You can provide newer information or evidence. All these may not ensure the decision to change, but it is best to cooperate with the investigators.
What Happens When You are Declared at Fault?
Being declared as the guilty party in an auto accident can cause some problems for you. At first, your premiums will now record bad driving. You may lose some premium offers due to the negative record.
The insurance company may not keep the accident record if you have been a good long-term driver. But you can still ask for forgiveness. This is called “Accident Forgiveness.” It would be best if you did not have any accidents in the last 6 years.
You and the other party can share the fault as well. There may be a situation where one driver is 50% at fault, and the other driver is 100% at fault. You need to check if your insurance policy includes any no-fault insurance regulations. Thus, you can then decide what to do according to the legal system.
The Canadian legal system has unique rules and procedures to determine vehicle accident faults. The auto accident fault determination rules in Alberta follow them.
There are 4 factors mentioned in the article. These factors determine how the court goes on to determine the fault. It would be best if you considered proving them to win the legal case.
If you can prove the other driver’s fault, you may be eligible for compensation. And you will need the compensation money to physically and mentally recover from the accident. The money can also help you to repair any property damages.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Alberta Auto Accident Fault Determination Rules?
Every province in Canada has its own set of rules to determine the fault of accidents. The Alberta auto accident fault determination rules do exactly that. The rules and procedures are in place to determine who is at fault in a vehicular accident.
How Do Adjusters Determine Who is at Fault?
The adjusters will consider the fault determination rules first. Also, there are a few thumb rules that will always determine you the guilty one. This involves breaking traffic rules and colliding with another vehicle from your fault.
How Long Does an at Fault Accident Stay on Your Record in Alberta?
If you are determined at fault in an accident, it will be added to your insurance coverage record. The record will stay for 6 years on your record in Alberta.
How Do Insurance Companies Determine Who’s At Fault?
Insurance companies follow some set of rules and procedures to determine accident faults. They will allocate insurance adjusters to investigate the case.
How Do You Dispute an at Fault Accident?
The best way to dispute an at-fault accident is to provide newer information. You can also show better and stronger evidence supporting your claim. A mediator can come in for further discussion as well.