No parent ever wants to think about having to take legal action on behalf of his injured child, but this is a reality that many parents have to face. There are several ways in which personal injury claims for children differ from claims involving adults. Here’s what you need to know if your child has been injured:
Statute of Limitations
Adults have two years from the date they were injured to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. However, the rules are slightly different for children. In California, children have two years from the date of their 18th birthday to file a personal injury claim if their parents did not already do so while they were minors.
Minor’s Compromise Approval
About 95% of all personal injury cases are settled through negotiations that take place outside of the courtroom, so it’s very likely that your child’s claim will be settled in this manner. But, when a settlement is made on behalf of a child, the case is not over quite yet. The settlement must be reviewed by a judge who will ensure it is in the child’s best interests. If the judge believes it is fair, he will grant his approval, which is known as a minor’s compromise approval.
Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means they will take a percentage of the compensation that you are awarded instead of charging you legal fees. The exact percentage will vary slightly, but it will typically fall between 30-40% of the settlement or verdict. However, in personal injury cases involving minors, attorneys cannot take more than 25% of the child’s settlement or verdict. The only exception to this rule is if the attorney can prove to the judge that he provided extraordinary legal services to the minor, and therefore deserves more than 25%. If the judge agrees, the attorney will be able to take a larger portion of the child’s settlement or verdict.
Payment of the Settlement
If an attorney is able to recover compensation for your child, it is very likely that the judge will order the money to be held in a bank account that cannot be accessed by anyone except for the minor once he turns 18. Parents will be able to retrieve money from this account to cover medical expenses related to their child’s injuries, but besides that, they will not be able to take funds from the account.
Filing a personal injury claim for a minor is much different than filing a claim for an adult. If your child has been injured, seek legal representation from James Rush at Rush Injury Law today. James Rush will guide you through every step of the legal process and help you understand the ins and outs of personal injury cases for children. Contact our law office by calling 415-897-4801 or filling out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.