If a minor is injured in a medical malpractice case who receives settlement money, the parent or the child?
Get Legal Help Today
Secured with SHA-256 Encryption
UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.
We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.
In many states, in order for a minor (anyone under the age of 18) to file a claim in court, the claim must be filed through a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL, for short). The Guardian Ad Litem, usually one of the minor’s parents, will file suit on behalf of the child and must act for the child’s benefit. All settlements of a minor’s personal injury claim must be approved by a Judge in order for the settlement to be valid.
When a medical malpractice case is settled on behalf of an injured child, first the debts are paid to the people who rendered services or advanced money to the child. This group of beneficiaries usually includes the doctors, the child’s lawyer, the insurance company and the parents. For example, a child’s parents can request reimbursement for their out-of-pocket payments to doctors.
The proceeds of the settlement, after litigation expenses, are normally paid into the court for the use and benefit of the child. When the settlement involves an annuity, it is referred to as a structured settlement. Instead of a settlement being paid in a lump sum, payments are made on a regular basis over the lifetime of the child. When the child reaches adulthood, the court hands over the remaining amount to the child. Parents can ask the court for more money to use for the benefit of their injured child, but the court does not often agree to do this. You may, however, live in a state where the remainder of the settlement money can be paid to you for the benefit of your child.