Fault Determination Rules – When They Apply?

two motorists motor vehicle collision documenting fault determination rules

I’ve just been involved in an accident and the Insurance Company has said I’m at fault, how do I know if they are correct?  

For the past 30 years, the Insurance industry has settled issues with respect to fault and property damage by using the Fault Determination Rules.  The insurance industry has agreed to follow the rules to determine if you’ve had an at-fault claim against you, and to see who is responsible for paying for property damage to the vehicles involved.  Please note, the Fault Determination Rules DO NOT apply to personal injury litigation when someone is suing for their damages.  It only applies between you and your insurance company and is not binding in a personal injury lawsuit. 

The Fault Determination Rules set out approximately 40 different motor vehicle accident scenarios which are used to determine fault.  The scenarios are applied regardless of weather conditions, visibility, point of impact of the vehicles, or actions by pedestrians at the scene.  While it might result in some rough justice, it does provide a quick and efficient way to determine who is at fault.

Fault is assigned to the respective drivers based on the scenario that most closely resembles the accident.  If you have had an unusual accident that isn’t covered by the Fault Charts, the law allows you to look to the common law Negligence rules.

If you tap on this link, you will see the wording of the Fault Determination Rules along with the charts that are used to determine the scenario which most closely relates to your accident.

The most common scenario that we see in our litigation practice is the rear-end car accident.  Under the Fault Determination Rules, the person who collides from the rear is always 100% at fault.  To state the obvious, the person who is hit is determined to be zero percent responsible and does not have an at-fault claim against them.  In this scenario, the at-fault party pays for the property damage and, more importantly, pays the innocent victim’s deductible.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident and you aren’t sure if the insurer has assessed liability properly, look at the Fault Determination Rules to establish who is correct.



About the Author

steve abraham - Burlington Lawyer


Stephen is a certified specialist in civil litigation ranked as a leading lawyer in Canada for his expertise in personal injury and other litigation.