A Children"s Injury Lawyer Talks About Settlement of Children"s Injury Claims
The court is concerned that the settlement proceeds be used solely for the best interests of the child.
Typically, the lawyer is required to file a petition requesting court approval of the settlement.
The petition sets forth the terms of the settlement and why the attorney believes it is in the child's best interest.
The court may require parental consent as well.
Other issues that the petition will address include any liens on the settlement, the age of the child, the injuries suffered and the present condition of the minor.
Some courts require a hearing so that the court can question the attorney, the parents and even the child.
Other courts will approve the petition without a hearing if it appears on its face to be proper.
Once the petition is approved, the attorney and/or the parents set up an interest bearing trust account.
This account will be virtually untouchable until the minor turns 18.
If the minor is in dire need of funds, the attorney will have to petition the court for early withdrawal.
Where the court is especially concerned about parental neglect, the court may require that the attorney, and not the parent, take responsibility for setting up the account.
The court is concerned that since the parent cannot spend the money, the check may never be deposited.
The court may require that the attorney file a certification attesting to the fact that the account was indeed set up promptly after the court's approval of the settlement.
A final protection involves the attorney's fee.
Even in states that do not ordinarily cap the percentage an attorney can charge in an injury case, kids are different.
The courts may severely limit the percentage so that the child's share is maximized.
The court may also require that the attorney's fee be calculated on the net, after repayment of litigation costs, instead of on the gross settlement.