Child Personal Injury Settlements In North Carolina
If a child is injured in a car accident or slip and fall in North Carolina, they are commonly entitled to the same rights as adults. One major difference in the outcome of a personal injury claim for a child or minor, is the distribution of funds to the child.
Child Settlements Without Court Approval
In small child personal injury settlements, often the settlement can be reached without court approval. Truthfully, this is a question of risk tolerance for both the insurance company and the personal injury law firm. The fear is that if a child settlement is reached without court approval, the child may later claim they were not treated fairly by the settlement. In most cases, insurance companies feel they bear most of this risk. As such, the insurance company will typically decide whether they are comfortable settling without court approval. A settlement of $5,000.00 or more by the insurance companies we work with regularly, typically requires court approval.
In child settlements without court approval, the funds are delivered to a parent or guardian, with the assumption the parent or guardian will use the funds in the best interest of the child. While this saves time and cost as compared to a child personal injury settlement requiring court approval, it is not always possible when the settlement amount is higher.
Child Personal Injury Settlements With Court Approval
In those cases where the insurance company requires it, or the attorney feels it is advisable, a settlement can be reached by the parties and then be submitted for court approval. In doing so, the personal injury lawyer appoints a Guardian Ad Litem to represent the child in court. Typically, this is one of the parents. A lawsuit is then filed in the name of the Guardian Ad Litem, for the benefit of the child. The primary purpose for the lawsuit is to gain access to the court system so that the settlement can be stamped as approved by the court.
If the parties are agreeable, the personal injury attorney will submit medical bills and records, together with all fees. The parties will communicate to the judge that they are in agreement. The judge will review the records and approve the settlement as proposed, or recommend changes.
Disbursement Of Funds In Child Settlements
The court will generally hold the proceeds from a child personal injury settlement, to be later distributed to the child upon reaching the age of majority (18 years old). While there is a small fee for the court to do so, the interest on the money usually covers that fee. If funds need to be disbursed from the settlement to cover ongoing medical costs, a provision for doing so may be built into the court approved settlement.
Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If your child was injured in an accident and you’d like to speak with a lawyer, we’re here to help. We advise clients every day about their rights in personal injury matters. We’re happy to hear your story and help you understand your options. You can call us at 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CONSULTATION and we’ll call you shortly. We know you have choices. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.