WHEN CHILD RECEIVES SETTLEMENT, WHAT HAPPENS TO THE MONEY?
When a child is injured in an accident, there are several legal issues to keep in mind. First, although the child has suffered the injury, in Minnesota, the parents are still responsible for the medical bills. Therefore, when our injury lawyers in MN are hired to help after a child has been injured in an accident, we represent the child first, but we also make sure that the parents are reimbursed for their expenses including medical bills.
Second, any settlement of the child’s injury case must be approved by a court. This is required by law so that the court can make sure the settlement is fair for the child and the money is protected. This is called a Minor Settlement Approval Hearing. Generally, the parent or legal guardian and the child must both come to court with their attorney. The attorney then leads the parent through a series of questions so that the judge can determine that the settlement is fair for the child. The judge is also provided with the child’s medical records and bills, health insurance information, and other facts about the case.
Third, any settlement for the child’s injury will generally not be available to the child until he or she is at least 18 years old, unless a judge agrees that the money is needed sooner for the benefit of the child – which is done only when need is truly shown. The settlement money must be invested in a very safe way (bank certificate of deposit, insurance annuity, etc.) and the investment can only be in the injured child’s name and can only be withdrawn by the child starting at age 18. Many times, parents of a child who has suffered an accident injury in MN will have our lawyers structure when the payments will be available to the child. For example, they may have yearly payments to the child starting age 18, or no payment until age 22 when the child graduates college so that the child and family can still qualify for financial aid. These are issues that our MN child injury lawyers will discuss with you in more detail when you call our office.
One concern we will discuss with you, is that some children will try to get the money sooner if the payments are to be made over a long period of time. For example, we had one parent set up a structured settlement where one of the payments the child was to receive would not come until the child was 35 years old. When the child was about 20 years old, he called us asking how he could sell the future payment to get some money now. This is not a call our personal injury lawyers like to get because when someone sells a future payment like that, the terms are never good and we feel like the child is getting ripped off. Therefore, we will discuss the issue with the parents and encourage them to set up the structure in a way that the child will hopefully not want to sell it early.
If your son or daughter is injured in an accident, please call one of our accident injury attorneys to discuss the potential case. We will provide you with a free consultation, and we never charge anything unless you or your child is compensated for the injury. Pam Rochlin and David Rochlin are lawyers with more than 25 years’ experience successfully helping hundreds of people injured in accidents, including many child injury cases at school, a daycare, in a car, on a bike, an ATV, etc. We will answer your questions and make sure that your child gets fair compensation for the injuries.