Seeking Compensation for Your Childs Car Accident Injuries
UPDATED: June 19, 2018
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.
We strive to help you make confident law decisions. Finding trusted and reliable legal advice should be easy. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
In an ideal situation, recovering for your child's car accident injuries won't require legal action and the case would be resolved through an out-of-court settlement with a minor's compromise. However, if this is not possible, you will need to file suit on behalf of your child as a guardian ad litem.
Recovering For a Child's Car Accident Injuries as Guardian Ad Litem
In many car accident situations, a police report or other proof from the accident will establish fault and the other driver will thus be held responsible for the action. This means his or her insurance company will be paying your bills. However, even if that is the case, if your child is in need of any type of extensive medical treatment, chances are fairly good the insurance company will balk at paying it. This means that, in the majority of situations, you will probably end up at least having to hire a lawyer, if not filing a lawsuit as guardian ad litem. The good news is that filing a lawsuit doesn't necessarily mean going to court. Insurance companies tend to respond to such filings by offering a settlement. See What Is the Liklihood Your Car Accident Case Will Go to Court? for more.
If the insurance company is not offering to pay your child's bills, then you need to take steps to protect your child's legal rights. Working closely with your attorney, you can to file suit on behalf of your daughter as her legal guardian. If you were injured, of course you would sue on your own behalf as well. Most of the time, these lawsuits end in settlement (when the insurance company makes you an out of court offer to release them of any and all further liability). If you are offered a settlement, you should make sure it is enough to reimburse you for any medical and other expenses in caring for your child. Should the case go to trial, you should be prepared to offer any evidence/documentation you have of the accident (and of the other driver's liability), as well as evidence of the expenses that resulted from it.
A Minor's Compromise Petition
Typically, in situations where a minor is the one who has been injured, the child's settlement is detailed with a "minor’s compromise," that lays out the terms of your child's settlement. Because a minor is not old enough to sign a settlement, the court must approve it. The minor’s compromise petition tells the court how much money the other party has agreed to give your daughter, where the money will be kept in trust, and who will be the trustee of the account. The petition also details how much money goes to medical providers, to you for out-of-pocket expenses, and to your attorney. Your daughter can retrieve her portion of the money when she reaches the age of 18 or by court order. In an emergency, the trustee can petition the court to release funds.
Hiring an Attorney
This situation is a legally complex one, so if you find yourself dealing with it, an experienced car accident attorney can help.