If a car hits you from behind, causing you to hit the car in front of you, your insurance rate will go up as much as the car that caused the accident.
According to the Insurance Fault Determination Rules, you will be considered "partially at fault" for hitting the car in front of you, regardless if it was caused by the car that hit you.
When you are determined to be "partially at fault," your insurance rate will increase as if you where completely "at fault."
Always ask your insurance adjuster if you're being considered to be "partially at fault," "at fault" or "not at fault" if you have been involved in an accident. Only a "not at fault" designation will prevent your insurance rate from increasing.
Many drivers get their vehicle repaired and assume they are "not at fault."
The time to discuss this is when the claim is being settled, and not when you're renewing your policy.
Here's one example of the Fault Determination Rule, which would be used by your insurance adjuster to determine whether or not you would be "at fault," "partially at fault" or "not at fault" when a vehicle from behind hits you and forces you to hit another vehicle.
In the collision between automobiles A and B in the graphic, the driver of automobile A is not at fault and the driver of automobile B is 50 per cent at fault for the incident, along with the driver of automobile C, despite the fact that automobile C forced automobile B into automobile A.
It is my belief, which I'm sure is shared by many other drivers, that if a driver behind hits your vehicle and forces you into another vehicle, you should not be at fault.
If you do not accept the insurance adjuster's ruling of "fault," you can escalate this matter to the insurance company's ombudsman.
Another option for mediation is the General Insurance OmbudService (GIO), an organization set up to mediate between insurance companies and drivers with respect to the fault determination rules. If you have a dispute with your insurance company that you can't resolve, GIO will help you out for free. They also mediate home insurance issues as well.
To contact the GIO office you can visit their website at www.GIOcanada.org .
To swerve or not to swerve
If you have a single-vehicle accident it's your fault.
Even if you swerve to miss a dog, deer, child or an oncoming car, and you hit the ditch, the guard rail, or whatever, and damage your vehicle, you're completely at fault and your insurance rate will go up.
You can't blame the weather or road conditions for your accident. Regardless of potholes, poor visibility, snow, black ice or whatever, you will still be at fault, and your insurance rate will increase if you have an accident.
In her column of Nov. 10, "Fault-free? It's not always clear cut", Lee Romanov stated that in the car in the middle of a three-way collision could be held partially at fault, even though that car was pushed into the car in front. This is correct only if the middle car is in motion at the time. If that car is stationary, the regulations state that it should not be judged to be at fault.