What If My Injured Loved One Is a Child or Is So Seriously Injured As To Be Unable To Make a Decision About Retaining a Lawyer?
The rights of children are carefully protected by the courts. Adults can decide to settle a case on their own without any involvement by the courts. However, settlements on behalf of minors almost always require court approval. In fact, typically a “minor’s estate” must be set up in the probate court to approve a settlement in the personal injury action and to oversee disbursement of settlement funds to the minor. This is done for two reasons. The first reason is to ensure the fairness of the settlement amount to the minor and to make sure that the minor’s interests are not “sold down the river” by a self-interested family member or lawyer seeking to capitalize on a quick but inadequate settlement. The second reason is to make sure the minor actually receives the money. This is typically done by having the monies going to the minor placed in an interest-bearing bank account, with a court order stating that the monies are not to be touched by family members or anyone else without prior court approval or until the minor turns eighteen years of age. The Chicago personal injury attorneys of Friedman & Bonebrake, P.c. will ensure that a proper legal guardian (usually a parent) is appointed early on to bring the action on behalf of the minor and that a minor’s estate is opened when a settlement becomes imminent.
Like minors, the interests of disabled persons are also carefully protected by the court system. A guardian is typically appointed early on to prosecute the case. Our law firm will work with the family during the initial consultation and thereafter to help determine the most appropriate person to bring the action on behalf of the disabled person and to familiarize the entire family with the process. Like minors’ settlements, settlements for disabled persons (and deceased persons) must be approved by the court. In some cases involving substantial settlements, “special needs trusts” or other financial vehicles are established to allow payment of future medical needs while preserving the disabled person’s government benefits such as public aid or certain types of social security benefits, which might otherwise be terminated due to the government concluding the disabled person is no longer eligible as a result of the settlement monies being received. The Chicago personal injury attorneys of Friedman & Bonebrake, P.C. are familiar with these financial vehicles and will have the family consult with other lawyers or specialists in such financial investments as necessary to make sure the loved one’s future financial needs are considered as part of any settlement.