Minor Compromises — How Personal Injury Settlements Are Made To Minors
Was your child or loved one injured due to the negligence of someone else? If so, they may need to sue the liable party for financial damages, just like an adult would. But their age makes things more complicated. To help you and your family protect a child's interests in the best way possible, here's a short introduction to minor compromises in personal injury law.
What Is a Minor Compromise?
An adult who wishes to pursue financial compensation for personal injury may negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party. Both sides sign a written agreement which is legally binding.
However, minors cannot sign such agreements by law. So, their interests are looked after by assigned adults — generally called a guardian ad litem. An agreement signed by this responsible party on behalf of the minor is known as a minor compromise.
What Will the Court Expect to See?
Adults negotiating for a minor do not simply have free rein to do whatever they want. The agreement must generally be approved by the court.
To get approval, the judge wants details of the agreement. These include details about the minor, the incident or reason for the settlement, medical reports, specifics about the settlement terms, reports on expenses paid from the settlement, and how the money will be managed.
How Is the Money Distributed?
Adults may be handed a large settlement with few boundaries, although they may also choose a more structured payment schedule. Most minor compromises include that more structured form of payment in order to protect the minor's interests. While structured settlements are common, the agreement may place money in blocked bank accounts, 529 accounts, or other tools.
How Are Lawyers Paid?
The court will consider the reasonableness of all expenses paid from the minor compromise agreement. This includes attorney's fees. Some states impose limits on how much can be paid, but others allow more room for negotiation.
It's best to agree on attorney's fees up front, although sometimes an attorney must put in extra work to negotiate and manage the child's settlement. In this case, the attorney may present evidence of this additional expense to the court.
Where Can You Learn More?
A minor compromise allows you to protect the interests of a family member or friend after an unfortunate accident. But it is carefully overseen by the court and must be done correctly. Find out more by meeting with a personal injury lawyer in your state today.
For more information, contact a personal injury lawyer near you.