Understanding the Legal Process When the Claimant Is a Child
There are some very important differences in personal injury lawsuits involving children, vs adult cases. You need to understand these differences if your child has been injured. Handling your child’s settlement is more complicated than handling your own. Each state is different, which is why you need to make sure you speak with an attorney who has experience with claims involving minors. Here in Amarillo, the lawyers at the Wood Law Firm, LLP, have extensive experience representing child victims in all types of personal injury lawsuits.
What Happens If a Child Wins a Lawsuit?
Minors are not allowed to enter into legal contracts, so your kid does not get to approve the settlement agreement. If the amount is not very high, you may be allowed to make that decision on your child’s behalf. For instance, if you’re looking at $15,000 or less, you may be allowed to approve the settlement. The threshold varies from state-to-state.
What Is a Minor Settlement Hearing?
In some cases, a guardian ad litem (GAL) is appointed to represent the best interests of the child. The GAL looks at the facts in the case, your child’s future needs as a result of the injuries, and similar factors, and then can make a recommendation to the judge on whether the settlement should be approved or rejected by the court.
Can I Gain Access To My Child's Settlement Money?
Money awarded to your child goes to your child, not to you. But, it doesn’t just go straight into their hands. It goes into a special account that they can access when they turn 18. Then, as your child is growing up, you can petition the court to release funds for your child’s need arising from their injuries.
You should also consider a structured settlement that doles out the money in installments after their 18th birthday, so they don’t blow it all as soon as they turn 18.
Get Help Today
To learn more about child injury settlements and how to protect your child’s best interests, please contact the Wood Law Firm LLP to speak with an experienced child injury attorney.