When a child is injured due to someone else’s negligence, there is the possibility that a lawsuit can be brought to seek compensation for those injuries. It is important to understand that when seeking damages on behalf of a child, there are some significant differences.
The leading cause of injuries to a child is auto accidents, pedestrian accidents and bicycle collisions. There has also been a dramatic upswing in accidents involving the use of electronic devices. As you might guess, under these circumstances, children are not mature enough to know how to look out for their own interests.
There are certain points of law that provide safeguards to protect children and can have an impact on the compensation they receive. For example, there are specific guidelines in place that govern how a child can be deposed and how they can be asked questions at a trial.
Most lawsuits involving children tend to be settled before a trial takes place. Unlike with adults, any settlement involving a child must be reviewed by a judge at a hearing to determine if the settlement offer is in the best interests of the child. This is known as the Minor’s Compromise approval.
According to California law, an attorney may not charge more than 25 percent of the gross amount recovered for the minor, unless they can prove that higher fees are justified.
After the judge approves a settlement, the proceeds are placed into a blocked bank account that is FDIC insured and that can only be accessed by the minor when they turn 18 years of age. The only exception is that a parent or guardian may pay certain expenses such as for health insurance or medical bills and then be reimbursed out of the account.
Choulos, Choulos & Wyle proudly serve clients in San Francisco, Oakland and in cities throughout the Bay Area.