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In Quebec, Who Is at Fault in the Event of an Accident?

In collaboration with the Groupement des assureurs automobiles

The rules for compensation governing auto insurance are often badly understood. We take a moment here to shed some light on how auto insurance claims work in Quebec.

Responsibility for an accident is determined by your insurer.

Even in cases where police are called to the scene of a road accident, they do not determine responsibility. Rather it is your insurer who will do so, using as a guide the Direct Compensation Agreement (DCA). This document outlines the majority of possible scenarios, and the percentage of responsibility of each driver (0%, 50% or 100%).

Let’s say, for example, that while circulating in traffic you rear-end the vehicle in front of you after it brakes suddenly. According to the DCA, you are considered to be at fault for the accident, because Quebec’s Highway Safety Code stipulates that motorists must keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them.

Even if the other party is found to be at fault for the accident, you will be compensated by your own insurer.

In order to determine the amount of your compensation, your insurer follows the guidelines laid out in the DCA. This agreement is adhered to by all car insurance companies, and is designed to simplify handling of claims. In addition to spelling out the various accident scenarios and relative responsibility, the DCA also stipulates that each motorist is compensated by their own insurer. The insurers therefore do not exercise their right of subrogation whereby the responsible party would indemnify the other, non-responsible party. This is what’s known as no-fault insurance.

Your level of responsibility will impact how much you receive in compensation.

If you are declared to be at fault, you will be compensated if the accident is covered under your insurance policy, minus the amount of your deductible if you have one.

f you are found not to be at fault, you will be compensated even if you are not covered by your insurance policy, nor will you have to pay the deductible.

To learn more about car insurance in Quebec, visit the website of the Groupement des assureurs automobiles.