California Uninsured Motorist Settlement
Sometimes an injured child is injured in a car accident where the at-fault party has no automobile insurance, and the child’s attorney is able to go under the uninsured motorist benefits that insured the car the minor child was occupying at the time of the accident. Sometimes a settlement is not forthcoming with the uninsured motorist insurance company (the insurance company that insured the vehicle not at fault for the accident), and an arbitration has to be filed against the insurance company. Under California law, you must file for arbitration in these circumstances (jury trials are not allowed in an uninsured motorist [UM] arbitration). Thus, the value of the minor’s injury claim is judged by an arbitrator (judge) who awards a value to the minor’s injury case known as a UM arbitration award. This UM arbitration award is the “compromise” (settlement) of the child’s injury case and still needs court approval.
★INTERESTING POINT: As we have been discussing, a California court holds power to disapprove a minor’s bodily injury settlement based on fairness that is in harmony with the evidence of the injury, damages, and liability; on a UM arbitration award to a minor, it cannot decline approval of that award on those same reasons.96 It has to be for other reasons such as fraud, or the like.
Legal Research for this FAQ: 94 Standard California Codes, Probate Code Section 3611(d), Methods of Disposition of Funds, Chapter 4, Article 2, 172. 95 Standard California Codes, Probate Code Section 3401, Delivery of Minor’s Money to Parent—Total Estate Less Than $5,000, Chapter 2, Article 1, 167.