Car accidents are an unfortunate fact of life. Every time you get behind the wheel, there is a chance you could be involved in a motor vehicle collision. One of the most important things to determine after any accident is which party – or parties – is to blame. Whose negligence caused the accident?
One Party at Fault
In many cases, determining which motorist is at fault is a relatively straightforward matter. Perhaps the negligent driver sped through a red light or drove the wrong direction down a one-way street. The Supreme Court of Canada has also held that, in most cases, a motorist who rear-ends another vehicle is at fault in an accident. In these instances, the at-fault driver is entirely responsible for the accident. As such, liability for injuries and damages that result from the accident falls on the at-fault motorist, whose insurance company must provide compensation to any injured parties.
Multiple Parties at Fault
In other situations, one or more drivers caused the accident. Determining which party or parties is responsible for the accident can be difficult in certain types of cases, such as highway pileups and chain reaction collisions that involve multiple vehicles.
For example, a blue car sideswipes a red car that is driving at an excessive speed, causing the red car to veer into oncoming traffic. In this case, it’s possible that both motorists played a role in causing the accident. As a result, the court may apportion liability for the accident between the two drivers, perhaps making the driver of the blue car 70 per cent liable and the driver of the red car 30 per cent liable. In this scenario, the driver of the red car is only entitled to 70 per cent of the compensation for his or her injuries. The compensation is reduced by 30 per cent because the red car was 30 per cent responsible for the accident.
Determining fault often requires a complicated analysis of the evidence. Personal injury lawyers know what to look for, and they work closely with police, accident reconstruction experts, and physicians to determine exactly what happened and who is to blame.