A parent’s most important responsibility is keeping their child safe. If your child was injured in a car wreck caused by someone else, what should you do?
Children have the same rights to recovery for their injuries as their parents or guardians. However, there are usually some extra hoops to jump through to get a settlement or judgment completed.
First, while any injured person can make a claim against the insurance policy belonging to the person or company that injured them, children are not allowed direct access to the courts. A lot of insurance claims that are brought by kids are resolved by insurance settlement before filing a lawsuit is necessary, but it does happen. In the event that it does, the lawsuit must be filed by the parent or guardian on the child’s behalf until the child reaches 18 years of age.
Another interesting wrinkle about injury claims and children is that their statute of limitations does not begin to run until they are 18 years old. That means that if a child is injured in a car crash or other incident at age six, for example, they are allowed to wait to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party until up to two years after they reach the age of legal majority, 18. In some rare circumstances, their statute of limitations might even extend longer.
Once the child’s claim is resolved, be it by settlement or judgment, the person or company paying that settlement or judgment can’t just write a check to the child and call it a day. Kentucky law first requires that a court with proper jurisdiction first approve the settlement – make sure it’s fair, proper, and agreed to by the child’s parent or guardian. Then, the parent or guardian in charge of the minor must apply with the local district court to become the court’s appointed guardian and conservator of the settlement or judgment funds. The court will require that appointed person to set up a blocked or restricted account, usually with a local bank, that the minor’s money must be paid into. The funds have to stay in that account until the child reaches 18 years old, or unless the court approves a withdrawal for special or important needs. Otherwise, the money stays put.
If you have a child that was injured in a car crash and don’t know where to turn, call us at 502-633-6002 for a free consultation. You can’t afford to go it alone – get the best and most trusted legal advice you can.