A minor accident where you are at fault usally will earn you at least one point on your record. Now if someone is injured or not even injured but is reimbursed for a doctor visit or payed out for suffering you have now earned 2 points. In California if you have more than one point on your record or have not had a continuous license the last 3 years, you will lose your California Good Driver discount which is up to 20% off is and mandated by the state. Now there are even worse accidents that you can be involved in like involuntary manslaughter which will take you up again to a major conviction. In short, accidents do affect your record and there is no real forgiveness out there in California for theses violations. The best thing you can do is to just not get into an accident or not be at fault then you will be OK and not effected by the points.
Information about Accidents