Demystifying no-fault insurance in Quebec
In Quebec, people often assume that a driver's responsibility for a car accident is defined by Quebec's no-fault public insurance program.
But how does Quebec's no-fault scheme work, and what does it actually cover?
No-fault insurance coverage of bodily injuries
Anyone injured in a car accident in Quebec is covered by Quebec's public automobile insurance plan, the Régime d'assurance automobile du Québec. This program is described as “no-fault” because compensation is determined without regard to drivers' responsibility. Victims are compensated by a public agency, the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec, rather than a private insurance company. Under this system, neither individuals nor companies can sue the person responsible for an accident.
In short, the “no-fault” principle applies to any injury caused by a car accident.
The driver's liability for an accident
While injuries incurred as a result of a car accident are covered by Quebec's auto insurance plan, the owners of the vehicles involved in the accident are compensated (or not) by the private insurance companies that insure the vehicles. This compensation is based on the types of protection included in each insurance policy and the liability of each of the drivers involved.
To determine their clients' liability and calculate the compensation they will provide, Quebec insurers rely on the Direct Compensation Agreement (DCA).
In other words, the “no-fault” principle has no bearing on how your insurance company will define your level of responsibility for an accident, or whether or not you will be compensated. Drivers' liability is defined by the DCA, and insurance companies provide compensation on the basis of their client's responsibility for the accident and the types of protection included in the insurance policy.
Direct compensation agreement
Quebec auto insurance plan