Ask Anne Marie: Who Is At Fault for a Left-Hand Turn Collision?

Young male driving a car in traffic.

We frequently highlight auto insurance questions sent to our resident insurance expert, Anne Marie Thomas. This week’s question is about fault determination for a collision while turning left.

The question comes from Mike, who asks:

“I was driving straight through an intersection, and some lady was going the opposite way but turning left, and we collided. The officer that arrived and took statements said the accident was my fault because I hit the back half of her car, but I had no way to slow down or stop, and she had entered the intersection illegally and crossed into my path. (Light was green for me, had not just changed, and it was clearly unsafe for her to enter [the intersection.]) Everyone I've talked to, including my insurance company, agreed it was not my fault, but since the case is still open, I'm a little worried that I could be found at fault, could I be?”

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When it comes to an auto collision, someone is always going to be found responsible for causing it, explains Anne Marie. However, when it comes to insurance, fault is not assigned by police attending the scene; instead, it is set out by regulation.

“Based on the scenario described, I see no reason why you would be found at fault for the collision by your insurer. Ontario's Fault Determination Rules state that when a driver makes a left turn and collides with a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction, the driver making the left turn is responsible for the resulting collision. 

“That’s what’s great about the fault rules in the province. They detail more than 40 different collision scenarios – some even with images -- to help ensure all drivers are treated the same. There are rules for vehicles travelling in the same direction, opposite direction, at intersections, parking lots, as well as other scenarios that are not easily grouped together. There is little room for misinterpretation.”

Extra Q&As about determining fault for an accident

Who is at fault? It’s a common question Anne Marie receives; in fact, it’s probably the most popular one of them all, and the following are some of the most recent: