Can Parents File A Personal Injury Lawsuit On Behalf Of Their Child?
If your child has been injured due to a car accident or other negligent conduct, it becomes a little trickier to file a lawsuit because the child has not reached the age of 18 yet. The courts have special procedural requirements for victims of personal injury who are under the age of 18. For this reason, you need a seasoned personal injury attorney who is adept at handling child lawsuits filed against negligent parties.
Minors in Florida cannot pursue their own personal injury claims due to Florida’s rules of procedure. In some cases, parents are required to obtain court approval regarding settlements when a minor is injured due to the negligence of another party. The rules are designed to protect the interests of the child and this is accomplished through judicial oversight.
When can a parent settle a lawsuit for a child?
Florida’s statutes allow a parent or guardian to settle a personal injury claim on behalf of their child without approval from the court only when the settlement figure does not eclipse $15,000. If the insurance company refuses to settle the claim, court approval is required. Some insurance companies will require court approval before disbursing any money to the family. If the settlement award is over $15,000, the parent must then seek court approval for the settlement by filing a Petition of Approval of Settlement. The petition includes details surrounding the case, information about the child’s injuries, and the amount of money recovered in the settlement. A judge will then review the settlement and determine whether or not it’s in the best interests of the child. The law requires that parents act in the best interests of their child when pursuing a settlement.
How are settlements for minor children distributed?
The same way that there are special rules of procedure for securing a settlement for a minor child after an injury, there are also special requirements for distributing settlement money after a child has been awarded a judgment.
When the net amount of damages is $15,000 or less, the process is generally quite simple. The judge will usually disburse the funds to the parents so that they can be used in the best interests of the child. When the net amount is over $15,000, that’s when things get a little complicated. In these cases, a formal guardianship will be set up to safeguard the child’s personal injury settlement award.
If the settlement award is over $15,000, the money will be placed in a restricted annuity or bank account that can only be accessed with court approval. The court will use its discretion when approving withdrawals from the account.
Talk to a Jacksonville Child Injury Attorney Today
Gillette Law can help you file a lawsuit on behalf of your injured child. The rules are complicated and require the assistance of a seasoned personal injury attorney. Call our Jacksonville personal injury lawyers today to learn more!