Personal injury settlements for minors happen following accidents that involve children. These accidents aren’t treated like cases involving adults. The health and general wellness of children comes before the desire to go on with legal proceedings.
Since children may not have clear judgment like adults, they are likely to get injured. Sometimes, serious injuries result from other people’s recklessness and negligence. Here are a few essential things to know about child personal injury claims.
Who Is a Minor?
In Idaho, anyone under the age of 18 is a minor. Minors can’t make claims, engage solicitors, or perform other legal processes without the help of an adult. They need adults to represent them in personal injury claims. If your child has been injured due to someone else’s negligence, here are the most important things to do:
- Get medical attention
- Report to the police
- Consult a child injury solicitor as soon as possible. They will discuss the case with you and guide you on the best way to proceed.
Guardian ad Litem
Minors have no legal capacity to represent themselves in court. They cannot legally make any decisions regarding their case. They cannot negotiate for settlements or determine if a settlement is reasonable.
Therefore, the most crucial step of the process is safeguarding the child’s interests. The court will appoint a guardian ad litem to act on their behalf. In most cases, this will be their parent.
They will get an attorney and explain the damages the child incurred. If there is a settlement offer, they may accept or reject it on behalf of their child.
After reaching a settlement, the minor’s guardian ad litem will file a compromise petition on behalf of the child. They may file a petition if they haven’t filed a suit and a guardian ad litem hasn’t been appointed.
This petition may include all vital information relating to the settlement and claim. These include a description of the accident and injuries, the settlement amount, and a brief explanation of the claim.
In unique situations, the guardian ad litem may file an expedited petition. It speeds up the process, ensuring that it is resolved within 35 days. Expedited minor’s compromise petitions do not require a hearing.
During the compromise and release hearing, the attorney, child, and guardian ad litem must be present. However, there are unique instances where the court may find a good reason for the child not to attend. During the hearing, the judge or attorney will ask important questions regarding the case.
They will seek to ensure that the settlement is fair and reasonable. The court will offer directions to keep the settlement money safe. Usually, it goes into a blocked bank account that the minor can access when they turn 18.
If the judge approves the settlement agreement, it is final and binding. If the court rejects it, new negotiations need to be made. The guardian can file a different lawsuit against the defendant. Alternatively, they can wait until the minor turns 18.
If your child was injured following someone else’s negligence, reach out to Idaho personal injury lawyers. They’ll give you directions to seek justice on the minor’s behalf.