Fault determination in an accident is one of the most important things as far as the insurance claim is concerned. After seeking medical attention post an accident, you need to find out who was at fault as quickly as possible. After all, depending on this, you will either get paid for your losses by the at-fault driver, or you’ll have to pay for his losses without getting any compensation for your own. While the exact scenario will depend on the type of coverage you have, no one wants to be the one at fault. And that’s why it often leads to people pushing the blame or trying to frame the other person.
However, just like everything else, a few rules in Alberta determine who caused the accident. So, if you are curious to know how exactly the at-fault driver will be decided, read till the end to find out the factors influencing that decision.
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What Is An Accident Fault Determination
After an accident, the biggest question is who will take care of the victim’s vehicle damage, medical bills, and lost wages. The law quite reasonably leaves this responsibility on the at-fault driver.
Simply put, accident fault determination is the process in which the victim of the accident and the one who caused it are identified. It’s a relatively structured process, and a decision is taken after going through the evidence, witnesses, and statements of the two parties involved. The insurance companies also take special interest in these investigations because they will have to pay in case their client was at fault.
Fault Determination Rules In Alberta
Determining who was at fault is a somewhat complex process. Here are the few factors that influence this decision:
- Signs of irresponsible driving
- Record of breaking traffic rules
- Record of rash driving
- Signs of violating road safety rules
Most roads in Alberta are well equipped with automated traffic enforcement cameras. For example, there are automated cameras placed at regular intervals that take the snapshot of a car if it exceeds the legally imposed speed limit for that area.
So, if any of the drivers had broken a traffic rule before they met with the accident, the authorities will indeed have the record. In case you did break a traffic rule before you met with the accident, the record will be held against you in the investigation and be a huge disadvantage for you, especially if the area where the accident occurred had no cameras.
These criteria mentioned above are used to understand the driver’s usual driving pattern to understand who is more likely to have caused the accident.
4 Ways To Find Out the At-fault Driver
It’s challenging to determine who was at fault if no CCTV footage is available for the crash. In this case, here are a few ways in which the fault is determined:
1. Police Reports
Police reports come in very handy for finding out who was responsible for the accident. The police are one of the first people to investigate the accident site when it’s still fresh and untampered. The condition of the cars and the drivers when they were found and the witness’s statements form the crux of the investigation. The police report majorly influences the final decision in these cases.
2. Traffic Laws
Violation of traffic rules is one of the major causes of accidents. For example, if someone was driving at a speed higher than the legally imposed level, it might cause an accident. This information is collected from the local traffic police and traffic control department.
Sometimes, even a slight wrong turn can lead to a crash. In this case, if traffic police with an in-depth knowledge of all the driving rules were present there, they could help the police identify whose mistake led to the accident.
3. Rear-end Accidents
Read-end accidents are when a car hits the back of another car. In this case, it’s always the fault of the driver at the back. According to Alberta driving laws, you need to maintain a certain distance from the car in front of you. Hence, even if they were to apply sudden brakes, you have the time to stop yourself. Breaching this law can lead to fatal accidents and will be considered your fault.
At the same time, rear-end accidents also suggest that the car in front was doing everything right and did not even press the brake suddenly, yet you crashed into it. This could happen if you accidentally accelerated the vehicle or lost control over the car. In either case, the fault is yours.
4. Accidents While Turning
Accidents occurring when a car is trying to turn pretty common. Under this category, there can be two cases:
First, the car in front that is turning might not have given the proper signals before turning. This could have led the car behind it to crash into the first car. In this case, the driver who was turning will be at fault.
In a second scenario, it might so happen that the driver who is about to take a turn has given all the necessary signals. But the car behind it ignored or missed it and continued to drive at the same speed leading to a crash. In this case, the driver at the back will be at fault.
Finding the one responsible for the accident is pretty difficult without the drivers themselves admitting what really happened. In this case, the authorities need to keep looking for evidence and witnesses to find the truth.
The primary purpose of determining who was at fault is to teach the at-fault driver a lesson and bring justice to the victim by taking care of his bills and losses. When you get into an accident, it’s best to call your insurer and seek their advice. Insurance companies view these accidents as a loss, and they will do their best to find the actual offender. The worst-case scenario is when you have been wrongly accused. Here, you have all the right to file a lawsuit.
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