What happens if I’m sued for being at fault in a car accident

By SmartCoverage Team on July 6th, 2018

No one wants to get into an accident, period. But they happen, and they usually result in each driver pointing the blame the other way. Chaos ensues, police are called, and hopefully, no one gets sent to the emergency room.

Insurance premiums are liable to go up for drivers found to be at fault in an accident, which is why no one wants to be blamed for them. The person at fault can be the benefactor of tickets and demerit points, while both parties generally have their day and next few weeks ruined. 

How fault is determined

Though police reports do help with the investigation concerning which party is at fault, the insurance company is the one who will determine who is ultimately to blame for the collision. Insurance companies consider factors such as: if one of the vehicles was parked or stopped during the accident, angle of collision, weather conditions, and following distance.

Your duty is to collect evidence, take photos, try to retain an eyewitness contact, swap insurance information, and take note of everything you can, including what happened right before the accident.

Your next obligation is to contact your insurance company immediately. Once you have filed a claim notifying your provider of the accident, they will start evaluating all of the information provided to determine who was at fault.

You’re found at fault

In all Canadian provinces, there is mandatory liability insurance, which is part of the basic package of auto insurance. Depending on your province, your insurance will cover you for $50,000 to $500,000 worth of damages related to property or injury; the common denominator though is $200,000 worth of liability coverage.

If you’re found at fault, your insurance company will foot the bill after you’ve paid the deductible.

But what happens if you get sued out of nowhere a year later, for charges that seem to fall outside of your insurance policy?

Handling the lawsuit

Unless there are some new circumstances that justify a new lawsuit coming up, your original auto insurance coverage is still valid.

Your insurance company will still be the agency to contact first since they are still responsible for providing protection through your policy. Contact them, and make sure they start working on the newly introduced file.

For the majority of cases, the insurance coverage you pay for month after month will be enough to cover all of the penalties and injuries involved in the accident. If you do not have sufficient coverage during a large or devastating accident, you will usually know shortly after the event and initial filing.

If a lawsuit is filed more than a year after the accident, check your province’s statute of limitations to see if the charge is worth fighting. The prosecution would have to show a great deal of causative effect and provide a reasonable explanation for the delay in bringing the suit to the light.

As always, your insurance company is your first line of defense; they will explain if you do in fact need a lawyer for the case. Never represent yourself in this sort of lawsuit, as the legal battle will be tactical and the facts of the accident itself will be of little importance.

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