Accessibility of a child’s settlement money is dependent on who’s awarded the money. The owner of the settlement is determined either in the settlement agreements or in the court. If the parents are awarded the settlement, sometimes courts can mandate what that money is spent on (food, water, shelter, clothing, health, etc.). If the court decides that the parent fails to represent the child’s best interest, it can appoint a “guardian ad litem” for the purposes of the lawsuit. The guardian has the authority to select and consult with an attorney.
If a child’s settlement award is less than $10,000, it can be received directly by the child’s parents. Settlements are legal property of the minor, and they are often awarded under a set of particular provisions that determine how the money should be spent. For example, if the plaintiff cited hospital bills, rehabilitation, counseling, and home accommodations in the original claim, the settlement award would be designated for those expenses.
If a settlement brought on behalf of the minor amounts to $10,000 or more, it must be approved by the court and accepted by the parent or guardian.
Who can file a personal injury claim for a minor?
A child under the age of 18 cannot file his or her own lawsuit in Indiana. A parent or guardian may file a claim on the child’s behalf. Any child under the age of 7 years is presumed incapable of fault. Children between the ages of 8 at and 13 are likewise incapable of fault.
However, children of 14 to 18 years can potentially be charged as adults. In children’s personal injury cases, the statue of limitations is extended. Ordinarily, an injured child has two years after the incident to file a claim. Since children are not able to file claims on their own, the statute of limitations does not necessarily apply until the child turns 18. If you have specific questions on how long you need to file a claim on behalf of a child, we recommend consulting with a personal injury attorney. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations.
Where does the settlement money go?
Parents or guardians can delegate the child’s settlement money to:
- A bank account
- Trust fund
- Educational or college fund
- Court monitored bank account
Hiring an Attorney
No parent should have to endure the trauma of fighting for an injured child. At Wilson Kehoe Winingham, our experienced personal injury attorneys are dedicated to your recovery. Call us today at 317-920-6400 for a free consultation and case evaluation, or schedule an appointment with us online.