A non fault accident is a car accident where an investigation determines that no party is at fault. As an example, if someone is driving down the road at a reasonable rate of speed for the given conditions and a tree falls into the road, smashing the car, this could be considered a non fault accident, as the driver was not responsible and could not have taken reasonable steps to avoid the accident. This term also comes up in the context of non fault or no fault insurance, a type of car insurance offered in some parts of North America.
In a non fault accident, insurance coverage may vary. People who have comprehensive insurance are insured against things like unexpected events they could not have predicted. Individuals without this type of insurance may not have much recourse in terms of coverage, as their insurance will focus primarily on collisions where they are at fault and cause damage to another vehicle. Individuals concerned about their level of coverage can talk to an insurance agent to get information about when and where they are covered.
Fault can be determined by representatives of insurance companies and usually involves input from law enforcement. While police at the scene may make a tentative statement, it is important to be aware that before insurance claims will be paid, the insurance company will want to do its own research, and it may reach a different conclusion than law enforcement officers did. It is possible to make an appeal if people feel the insurance company was in error in its investigation; if, for example, a driver is blamed for a non fault accident, an appeal can be filed to address the issue.
In the case of no fault insurance, insurance companies pay out for accidents regardless as to who is at fault. This allows for immediate compensation and assistance with medical expenses, replacing vehicles, and other costs associated with the accident, in contrast with systems where fault has to be determined and the parties involved may litigate. In regions with no fault insurance, such insurance also limits the ability to sue. This keeps insurance costs down, as insurance companies do not have to be involved in the defense and settlement of court cases.
No fault insurance can be found in some US states, as well as some parts of Canada. In this case, whether people are involved in a non fault accident or not, the insurance company will pay out, up to the limits determined by the policy. People can buy more coverage or reduce standard deductibles if they are concerned about costs. Many insurance policies have low baseline coverage, and additional coverage is recommended.