When a child is involved in a personal injury case and is the recipient of a huge settlement, most personal injury attorneys recommend for the compensation to be awarded via a structured settlement. A structured settlement is a financial package. Typically, a lump sum is paid upfront to cover medical expenses and other bills, and the remaining compensation is paid in separate payments throughout the years. If your child will be awarded a settlement, the personal injury attorney may be required by law to draft up a structured settlement.
Access to Settlement Based on Age of Majority
Recipients of personal injury settlements under the age of majority are considered to be a ward of the court in numerous states. The court has a legal obligation and duty to protect the minor's interest. In this situation, the court has a duty to protect the minor financially to ensure that parents and guardians do not have full access to the settlement to prevent them from spending the money on anything other than the minor needs.
Since a settlement awarded to a minor is generally placed in the control of parents and guardians, structured settlements pay off a lump sum to the parents or guardians. This lump sum is to be used to pay for medical expenses and other bills. Payments for the remaining settlement are held off until the minor reaches the majority. You should discuss the expected expenses and amount already paid with the personal injury attorney to make sure that the lump sum payment will be sufficient.
A personal injury attorney is responsible by law to determine a reasonable amount to be paid at various intervals after the age of majority is reached. He or she is also required to factor in other variables and circumstances into the terms and conditions of the structured settlement. For example, the attorney may arrange for periodic lump sum payments to be made at certain intervals, such as when the minor reaches driving age and would like to purchase a vehicle or upon graduating high school to pay for college.
Structured Settlement for Small New Values
Although the personal injury attorney is responsible for setting up structured settlements and other payment options that protect the minor financially from being exploited by parents or guardians, small settlements are exempt. In Illinois, a net value less than $10,000 can be paid in full to the minor. A structured settlement does not need to be drafted up in this situation.
If your child is involved in a personal injury case, speak with a personal injury attorney, like those at Vaughan & Vaughan, immediately to determine whether the law in the state that you live in requires a structured settlement.
After you are involved in a serious car accident, you might feel confused about what to do next. In order to feel like yourself again, you might be tempted to try to go about your daily activities, only to come across loads of challenges. In addition to focusing on your own recovery, you might also be left wondering what to do about medical bills, pushy insurance adjusters, and annoying family members. However, the right lawyer can help you to find your way. My name is Dan, and I know firsthand how difficult it can be to recover from a bad injury. Read my website to learn how proper legal representation can simplify your journey.