When you’re involved in a car accident, the first that everyone does is find faults and immediately decide whom to blame. The responsibility and blame affect your insurance rate, so it is essential to understand how exactly the whole process works and what you should do and should opt-out of doing in the situation. After a car accident, it is the insurance adjuster who investigates the accident and decides on who is at fault.
How the Insurance Companies Decide on Car Accident Fault
After a car accident is reported and you claim insurance, the insurance companies start their investigation to find out facts about the accident. They look for evidence, jointly encounters every person related to the accident, that could be the drivers, witnesses, and passengers, and checks every other information related to the accident. Once they carefully examine all the available information, they decide on who is at fault, how much at fault, and how much money can the victim claim.
The insurance companies follow a set of rules that are set by different provinces under the Insurance Act. These regulations are called the Fault Determinations Act that helps insurance companies to determine the type of accident and who to blame. These rules cover almost 40 different types of accidents that include nearly every possible car accident scenario.
The insurance company closely examines which type of accident relates closest to the case at hand, and acts accordingly to determine fault and give a decision. However, apart from minor differences, every province follows almost the same Fault Determinations Act.
The rules are usually set by the provincial federation, even though the basic rules in every province remain the same. For example, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) is responsible for setting the parameters, and insurance companies operating in the area are bound to abide by those rules.
Shared Fault and Fault Percentage
The investigation done by the insurance companies ensures that the claimed premiums are adjusted for drivers who are at least or more than 25 percent at fault. This also suggests that in every car accident scenario, both the drivers are mostly at fault, and it’s rare to have 0 percentage fault in the accident. As the rules, do not take the visibility, weather condition, point of impact, or pedestrian actions, inevitably, both the parties will always be found guilty. So, in most cases, the fault is shared 50/50.
It is also important to remember that even if the insurance covers the no-fault policy, where regardless of who is at fault, you always get the claimed compensation. You can still be found at fault either way that reflects on your rating point in the future.
What Should You Do If You Disagree?
As part of your legal right, you have the choice of disagreeing with the insurance company. When you disagree with the decision of the insurance company, you can always call them up and ask them to recheck the evidence and re-follow the rules of the Fault Determinations Act.
There is also an option to provide the insurance company with a new set of evidence and fact. If new and relevant sets of new evidence are provided, the insurance will definitely reexamine everything. In case the insurance company refuses to do that, you can always contact the company complaint officer and issue an official complaint.
Finally, in particular and extreme cases, a third-party mediator can come into play and hear the appeal. They can then decide on a fault decision based on all the evidence and in the presence of all the related parties. However, once the decision made, everyone is bound to accept it and abide by it accordingly.
How Does Being At-fault Affect You?
The insurance company’s decision can firstly affect your payment claim if you’re found at fault. The major problem arises when it affects your rating point. If you’re more than 25% at fault, you lose your premium insurance.
This also affects renewing the insurance. Being involved in an accident can reduce the rating point by 20%, and you can decrease from a six-star to a five-star rating. This doesn’t seem much until you renew your insurance, and now you have to pay way more than before. As an at-fault driver, you also can’t change your insurance companies easily due to your faulty-driving record.
Insurance companies are the key decider in judging fault in a car accident. So, it is essential to know thoroughly about the kind of company you’re involved with and always be up-to-date about the rules. Although being at-fault will affect your rating, each insurer rates your situation differently, and there is a flexible insurance company that can be forgiving in your car accident case.