Car accidents are typically quite traumatic for all parties that are involved. This trauma is especially amplified when children are present during an accident. Although a child does not have the same legal capacity as an adult, a child is still entitled to the same rights as an adult with respect to any personal injury claims stemming from a car accident. This means that a child can also collect a settlement from the other party for any medical bills or injures incurred.
Types of accident settlements
Typically, child personal injury claims are divided into two categories: claims for medical expenses and claims brought to seek compensation for other damages, e.g. pain and suffering, emotional pain, etc.
Medical Expense Claims
Claims for medical expenses are brought by the party that is legally responsible for the child, typically a parent or legal guardian. Since they are the ones that are financially responsible for the child, the legal systems allows them to bring action and make decisions regarding recovery of medical expenses for the child.
Guardian Ad Litem Claims
Claims for any other damages must typically be made by a guardian ad litem. A guardian ad litem is generally a disinterested third party that has been appoint by the court to protect the interests of the child and ensure fair treatment regarding settlements. A guardian ad litem is normally a family member or the child’s attorney.
Upon obtaining a settlement for a child, the court will order that any accident settlements be held in trust until the child reaches the age of 18, the age of legal majority in North Carolina. This means that the money in the settlement, minus attorney fees and costs, will be held in a bank account managed by the Clerk of Court where it will collect a small amount of interest. Although this is generally the procedure, there are exceptions involving structured settlement agreements or if Medicaid assistance is involved.
If your child has been involved in an accident, you should consider hiring an experienced personal injury attorney who has handled child accident cases to help represent your child and make sure your child receive adequate care and compensation for your injuries. An attorney will not only be your own personal advocate, but will also be familiar with the often hazy maze like process of dealing with insurance companies. Don’t hesitate to Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. to schedule a free consultation about your child’s personal injury claim.
[wpseo_map id=”2546″ width=”400″ height=”300″ zoom=”-1″ map_style=”roadmap”]
[wpseo_address id=”2546″ ]
James Minick is a criminal defense attorney in Asheville, NC and is the owner of Minick Law, P.C.