What role does insurance play in determining fault and liability?
A: In Alberta, insurance plays a crucial role in determining fault and liability in motor vehicle accidents, including pedestrian accidents. The province follows a fault-based system, meaning that the insurance company of the party determined to be at fault will be responsible for compensating the injured party. In this context, insurance companies are involved in various aspects of the process, including assessing fault, determining liability, and paying out claims.
Assessing fault: After a motor vehicle accident, the insurance companies of the involved parties will conduct investigations to determine fault. This process involves reviewing the accident's circumstances, collecting statements from drivers and witnesses, assessing the damage to the vehicles and property, and reviewing any available evidence such as police reports, photographs, or surveillance footage. In some cases, insurance adjusters may consult with accident reconstruction experts to better understand the accident dynamics and assign fault accurately.
Determining liability: Once fault has been established, insurance companies will determine liability based on the degree of fault assigned to each party. In Alberta, the principle of contributory negligence applies, meaning that if both parties are found to be partially at fault, the liability will be apportioned accordingly. For example, if a driver is found to be 70% at fault and the injured pedestrian 30% at fault, the driver's insurance company would be responsible for paying 70% of the total damages.
Paying out claims: After fault and liability have been determined, the at-fault party's insurance company will be responsible for compensating the injured party. This may include payment for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages, depending on the specific circumstances of the case. The insurance company may offer a settlement to the injured party, which should be carefully reviewed with the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer, such as those at Kantor LLP Personal Injury Lawyers, to ensure that it adequately covers the injured party's needs and losses.
Disputes and litigation: In some cases, disputes may arise between insurance companies, the injured party, and the at-fault party regarding fault determination, liability, or the value of the claim. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, the injured party may choose to pursue legal action with the help of a personal injury lawyer. During litigation, the role of insurance companies may shift, with their legal teams becoming more involved in defending their insured clients and minimizing their financial exposure.
While insurance companies play a significant role in determining fault and liability, it is essential for injured parties to seek independent legal advice from a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer, such as those at Kantor LLP Personal Injury Lawyers. Legal representation can ensure that their rights are protected, that they receive fair compensation, and that their best interests are prioritized throughout the process.