Court approval to pay medical and hold money for minors until 18

Handling a Minor Child’s Money in Personal Injury Cases

When a minor child under the age 18 is involved in a personal injury case, the resulting claims are often divided into two parts. The first part involves payment for medical expenses related to the injuries sustained. The second part is for damages specific to the child, such as compensation for pain and suffering. Typically, court approval is necessary to set up this type of arrangement in a way that’s appropriate based on the situation.

Court approval to pay medical and hold money for minors until 18

What Funds Are Immediately Accessible?

Personal injury cases, in general, typically involve different types of compensation, which depend on the circumstances involved. For example, a child injured by a dog bite due to the owner’s negligence may be awarded both medical damages and damages specific to the child not involving medical care. With medical compensation, the affected minor’s parents or their legal guardians will receive the money. Therefore, you would be able to sue on behalf of your child to recover money needed to cover their current and anticipated medical costs. Parents of a minor child may also use part of the received funds to cover case-related expenses, such as attorneys’ fees.

What Compensation Belongs to the Minor Child?

The other part of a minor’s claim money belongs to the affected child. In addition to pain and suffering, compensation of this nature may also include funds for a physical impairment that will likely affect quality of life into adulthood or some type of permanent disfigurement. This type of compensation is what belongs to the child. Legally, however, the child’s parents can act as their representative to initiate claims of this nature. Lawsuits involving minors are usually worded in a way that makes it clear that parents are acting on behalf of a child – e.g., “[Parent’s name], individually, as Next Friend of [minor’s name]…”

What Happens to Money Set Aside for the Child?

With the settlement or award money, funds are divided. Parents gain access to the types of funds already mentioned. The portion that’s set aside for a minor child is protected by the court. This is typically done by placing the child’s compensation for their injuries into a trust fund that’s established and maintained by the court. Interest is accumulated while the funds are in the trust. When the child turns 18 or is declared an adult, they will be able to access their portion of the funds.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?

A personal injury attorney can help you take the steps required to receive court approval to receive money needed for your child’s medical expenses now while holding compensation specific to the child until they are of legal age. However, it is possible for parents to petition the court for the early release of some or all of a non-medical award if it’s in the child’s best interest. Normally, however, courts will not allow this. An attorney can provide advice more specific to your situation.