Insurance companies follow the same rules that a courthouse judge would use to determine who is at fault for a car accident. Deciding fault is often straightforward, such as when one car rear-ends another (the car behind is most often at fault). In other cases, it’s a little trickier and insurance companies have to look at all evidence including statements from those involved and witnesses, police report if available, pictures of the damage to the cars, video if available, etc. Note that California follows what is called “comparative negligence law” which means that that drivers can have different degrees of fault. For example, let's say that a car that is backing out of a driveway gets hit by a speeding car that has the right-of-way on the road. In this case, insurance may put 80% of the fault to the car coming from the driveway but they may also put 20% of the fault on the one that is speeding. In the end, the driver that is 51% at fault or higher will see the accident be “charged” against them and affect their insurance rate.
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