For a parent, there are few things more frightening than when your child is injured. If a lawsuit is involved, that can make the situation even more overwhelming. Here are the basic things you need to know about minor settlements.
Washington law requires court approval of all minor settlements
Washington law seeks to protect the interests of children. Any settlement reached for injuries suffered by a child must be approved by the court, even if no lawsuit is initiated. Court approval is required under Washington statute to protect the interests of injured children. When the court receives notice of minor settlement, a person known as a guardian ad litem is appointed by the court to investigate the proposed settlement. The guardian ad litem is given information regarding the accident and injuries and assesses whether the settlement is in the interest of the child. The guardian ad litem then will make a recommendation to the court to approve or deny the settlement based upon his or her evaluation.
Settlement funds must be placed into a blocked account or an annuity
Minor settlement funds do not simply get paid to the parents or into a regular savings account in the child’s name. Washington law wants to make sure that funds are not misappropriated or spent by parents. Parents are not entitled to the money received in the settlement. The money must be placed into a blocked account or an annuity until the child is 18 years old.
It is important that you hire a personal injury attorney who is familiar with Washington law regarding minor settlements and who can help guide you and your family through the process. Northwest Women’s Injury Law understands that injury and recovery is different for children. Their injuries, losses, and outcomes are unique. As a result, their representation must also be unique. If your child has been injured, don’t go it alone. Call us at (425) 818-5331 to schedule a free consultation.