The insurance companies who insured the drivers in the accident are the ones that determine who is at fault. They distribute a relative percentage of fault to each party based on the driver’s behavior during the initial impact. In the state of California, this is known as comparative liability.
The claims adjuster will determine the degree of fault based on the circumstances tied to the accident. Overall, insurance adjusters will have to look to state laws to get an idea of which driver(s) acted negligently, as well as how to distribute liability.
In some cases, insurance companies may pay an appropriate portion of the insured driver’s share. An example could be: Company X has a driver who is 60 percent at fault while Company Y has a driver who is 40 percent at fault. Company X may pay 60 percent of the settlement while Company Y pays the amount of 40 percent.
It is possible that insurance adjusters may work with their clients to figure out the most suitable percentage of fault for each party involved. Drivers could of course advocate to get the lowest percentage of fault with the help of their legal counsel. However, if there is no agreement between the insurance adjuster and the driver, then it is up to the court to decide who is primarily at fault for the incident and to what degree.