If your child suffers injuries in a car, truck, slip and fall, or other personal injury accident, you will have to follow special procedures under California law to have their settlement approved by the court. There are separate rules for settling claims out of court or through litigation. You will also have to follow special restrictions on where the settlement funds must be held.
How Can the Proceeds From a Child’s Settlement Be Handled?
When the judge approves a settlement of a child injury claim, they must also issue an order regarding where the funds must be held and how they can be used for the child’s benefit. There are a few ways that these proceeds can be handled:
- Blocked account. The most common way that settlement proceeds are handled is through a blocked account. No money can be taken out of the account without the court’s permission until the child turns 18 years old and the funds are released to them.
- Special needs trust. If a child’s injuries are disabling or they were disabled before the accident, the funds may need to be placed in a special needs trust where the money can only be used for specific reasons stated in the trust. A special needs trust could be the best way to protect the child’s right to Social Security disability benefits throughout their life.
- Minor settlement trust. Depending on the child’s needs, the court could approve the use of a minor settlement trust. This is a legal document that would state how the proceeds could be used and would give the parents more flexibility in using the settlement proceeds without ongoing court supervision. The child would have the right to revoke the trust when they turn 18 years old.
- Child’s caregiver. If the amount to be handled is less than $20,000, the child’s parents or caregiver may be allowed to control how the money is used. However, judges do not favor this arrangement and may require the funds to be deposited into a blocked account instead.
If your child was injured in a personal injury accident, you need the help of an experienced child injury lawyer who can fight for the compensation they deserve. Call my office or start a live chat to schedule your free, no-obligation initial consultation to learn about my experience in these cases and how I can help you.