Archive for May, 2010

Am I Covered by my Auto Insurance if I’m at Fault?

One of the first questions to be determined after a collision is who is at fault? I don’t like to call collisions “accidents”. When people say “it was an accident,” the connotation is no one was at fault. Now to be at fault doesn’t mean someone set out to cause the collision.

It really means that someone did something or omitted to do something they should have done that caused the collision.
If no one is at fault, or the person at fault was the person injured, then the compensation is very limited. It’s limited to what is available as no fault benefits. No Fault benefits will be the topic of another article.

Now if someone is at fault for a collision, it doesn’t mean that they did something criminal or illegal. It could be momentary inattention or a poor judgment call. Insurance will pay the other person if we make a mistake. Now if the conduct is criminal, such as driving while impaired, racing or seeing how fast your vehicle could go, then ICBC will pay out, then sue the person at fault for reimbursement.

If the collision isn’t your fault, then it’s the insurance company of the person who caused the collision that you deal with. It’s usually ICBC, but if the collision was caused by someone outside of BC, it could be another insurance company. The insurance company will try to settle the case, but they are doing so because their duties and responsibilities are to the person who cased the collision.

It is possible for liability or fault to be divided amongst different people. The owner of a vehicle is liable for the actions of anyone they let drive the vehicle. The owner is also covered by the insurance through ICBC.

If two different drivers contributed to the collision, both of them can be found liable.

If the injured person was partially at fault (for example, if the injuries are worse because the insured person didn’t wear their seat belt, was struck by a vehicle while jay walking, or was one of the drivers who caused the collision) then they are still entitled to compensation, but the compensation will be reduced by the percentage that the injured person is at fault.

So ICBC will cover pay all the costs of a collision you cause. If you don’t have valid insurance, or you breached the policy by committing a criminal act or doing something else improper, ICBC will still pay out, but then sue you for the money they paid out back.