When children are injured or involved in a wrongful death after a parent dies, they have the same rights as adults to pursue damages against the responsible party. The legal process for children, however, is different than for adults.
When children receive damages, this money is intended to provide for the child’s needs and should be protected against misuse, whether intentional or unintentional, and spent wisely for the benefit of the child. Money gets to minors through a “structured settlement,” which is designed to keep as much of the cash as possible until the child reaches the age of 18.
Types of Cases That Result in Structured Settlements
There are a variety of cases that result in structured settlements for minors, including:
- Personal injury
- Birth injury
- Medical malpractice
- Wrongful death
Steps to Creating a Structured Settlement
In creating a structured settlement, the courts want to ensure that the money will grow over time, protecting it from parents or guardians who might want to use it for themselves and from the child spending all the money at once. The plan can be designed to cover the costs of college tuition or to purchase a car or home. The court will choose one person it believes will best manage the structured settlement and protect the child’s best interests until they turn 18.
Decisions will be made on a payment schedule and fund allocation. The parties—usually including the child, a parent, and their attorney—will appear before a judge, who will decide whether to approve the plan. The judge may choose to appoint someone to help determine what would be in the best interests of the child.
Contact Us If Your Child Has Been Injured
The Fairfax lawyers of Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options. If your child has been harmed, and you want to set up a structured settlement for damages, we can handle the legal aspects of your case. Call us, or reach out to us via this website to learn more.