An accident involving a child is every parent’s nightmare. If your child has been injured in a personal injury accident, the process is understandably stressful and confusing. Unlike a typical personal injury claim, a minor under the age of 18 is not able to defend their case on their own to find justice. The circumstances also differ when the minor wins their case. Can the child receive his or her money? If not, who holds it and when does the child get it?
As a child’s parent or guardian, it is important to understand the appropriate steps to take and how the process works in order to achieve the best and most justified outcome for your child.
If the unimaginable occurs and your child has been injured in an accident, California law states a guardian ad litem must be appointed to act as the voice of the minor during litigation. This is typically the parent or legal guardian who can take on the responsibility of acting in the minor’s best interest.
Personal injury cases involving a minor are unique as the 2-year California statute of limitations may not apply until the minor turns 18. This gives the minor more time to reach a settlement or litigate his or her case.
The court will be involved in a settlement involving a minor to ensure the child receives a fair and equitable settlement in the best interest of the child. Once the court has approved the settlement, it will be placed in a “blocked account,” an annuity, or if the funds are $5,000 or less, ordered to be held in trust by the parents or guardian until the child turns 18 years old.
The minor will then have access to the funds at a time pre-determined by the court. This is typically at an age when the court deems the minor responsible enough and is usually on the 18th, 21st, or 25th birthday of the minor. The parents may also be compensated at the time of the settlement for their out of pocket costs for the child’s medical expenses.
The minor is always the first priority in any personal injury accident. The laws put in place were to protect a minor’s best interests as they are not of a legal age to fight for themselves.
If you are in a situation where you are acting as a guardian for a minor in a personal injury lawsuit, our team is available to help guide you through the situation every step of the way. Alison Gokal and the attorneys of Gokal Law Group, Inc. are experienced in personal injury meditation and work on a no-fee guarantee. We don’t get paid until you reach a settlement. Give us a call at 949-753-9100 or contact us here.