Filing a Personal Injury Claim for a Minor
Filing a personal injury claim can be a stressful and overwhelming process, especially when the claim involves a child. Unlike an adult's claim, a personal injury claim for a minor involves more legal steps and additional documentation. In California, when a child is injured due to someone else's negligence, only the parent, or the minor's legal guardian, can file a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the child. In this article, we'll go over the basics of this process and what you need to know regarding personal injury claims for minors. If your child was seriously hurt in an accident, contact a local personal injury law firm as soon as possible to speak with an experienced attorney about your child's legal rights. Working with a personal injury lawyer will ensure you receive proper legal advice and make informed decisions for your child.
What Is a Minor's Compromise and How Does It Work?
In California, when settling a personal injury claim, a minor cannot legally enter into or sign any agreements. This is why a parent or legal guardian must step in to make legal decisions on behalf of the minor. But California courts take this matter very seriously; if a parent or guardian is deemed unfit to act as a fiduciary, the court will appoint another entity instead. To ensure the settlement is in the child's best interest, a judge will assign a guardian ad litem, or a court-appointed representative, to temporarily act as the child's advocate.
Once a settlement agreement has been reached, the guardian ad litem must file a petition, or a minor's compromise, on behalf of the minor. Under California law, a judge must review and approve a minor's settlement to ensure the terms of the agreement are in the child's best interest. Filing the necessary forms and submitting all the required documents for the petition is a complex task. Furthermore, even the slightest mistake can cost you weeks, if not months. It's imperative to work with a legal professional to avoid any technical errors or missed deadlines.
How Long Does It Take To Settle a Personal Injury Claim?
It can take three months to a few years to settle a personal injury claim. However, when the case involves a minor, it may take a bit longer. Further, personal injury settlements for children are complicated since money is awarded to the child instead of the parents but is not available to access until the age of 18. Settlement proceeds are divided into two portions. First, all expenses in relation to the case must be covered. This can include medical expenses, any loss or damage suffered by the victim, and attorney fees incurred by the minor's guardian ad litem. The remainder of the settlement proceeds is usually placed in a blocked account where, unless authorized by a judge, withdrawals are only permitted once the child turns 18.
How Much Do Personal Injury Lawyers Charge?
Most personal injury law firms charge a contingency fee; instead of charging clients hourly rates, attorneys only receive compensation if and when a case is settled or won. In other words, no recovery, no fee. Personal injury lawyers are willing to fight for their clients because they know how insurance companies operate. Even if a settlement is reached, it's not in the insurance company's best interest to have an injured victim receive maximum compensation. If a child is injured in an accident, it's the parent's responsibility to make sure that child receives proper care. Consult with an attorney who will ensure you understand your legal options and determine the best course of action to take for your child.
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Yepremyan Law Firm works on a contingency basis for all personal injury matters. Our law firm has been a trusted legal advisor since 1998 and represents clients all over Southern California. We offer 24/7 support and provide free consultations to help you learn more about the different ways we can assist you and your child.
Contact our office to speak with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the legal landscape and ensure your child's rights are protected.
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