Multiple vehicle (car) pile-ups and the Fault Determination Rules

Car accidents are high-impact, high-emotion and high-stakes cases. There are several types of collisions and, at times, multiple vehicles collide causing serious injuries to drivers, passengers and pedestrians. How do the insurance companies determine who is at fault for an accident and, consequently, who is liable to pay for the damage in multiple car accidents?
In general, insurance companies use the Fault Determination Rules, RRO 1990, Reg 668 under the Insurance statutes to determine who is at fault for damage. These rules provide detailed diagrams of all types of motor vehicle collisions and apportion fault for each case. However, these rules are only a basis for determining fault, and do not take into account weather, the condition of the road and traffic at the time of the accident. The rules are a valuable starting point.

What about rear end collisions? Section 6 of the Fault Determination Rules establishes that the rear vehicle is 100% at fault for a collision when both vehicles travel in the same direction. It does not matter whether the front vehicle was moving or stationary. This is an important determination as a substantial amount of collisions happen because of tailgating in the City of Ottawa or drivers inattention to collide with vehicles stooping in front of them at red lights or stop signs.
It is open for an injured plaintiff driving the rear vehicle may rebut this presumption by showing that the front driver was driving dangerously, or that he suddenly hit the brakes, making it impossible for the rear vehicle to stop in time to avoid the accident.

What about three rear-end car collisions? Section 9 of the Fault Determination Rules apportions fault in cases where three or more cars collide. If all cars are moving and travelling in the same direction, the last car that causes the chain reaction is deemed 100% at-fault for the damage on the middle car, and the middle car is deemed 50% responsible for the damage to the first car. If the first two cars are stopped and the third car causes a chain reaction, the third car is at-fault for the whole chain reaction and the second is not responsible for any of the property damage.

Our Ottawa car accident lawyers have handled many multiple car collision cases. Our lawyers can ensure you get fair compensation for your injuries.

If you or someone you care about was injured in a car accident, please contact one of our lawyers for a free consultation. We work on a no-fee-until-you-win basis. Call us at 613-315-4878.