Minors’ Cases: Special Rules Apply to Civil Claims Brought on Behalf of Children
At the offices of Patterson Dahlberg Injury Lawyers, we take the protection of children’s rights seriously. When a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit is a minor (under 18), special rules apply and are non-negotiable. Under Minnesota law, specific procedures must take place. The Minnesota rules include:
- The ethical obligations of the attorney
- Court approval of all settlements
- The distribution of proceeds occurs when the case completes
The Ethical Obligations of the Attorney
The American Bar Association sums up “professional conduct rules” in its Model Rules of Professional Conduct Preamble and Scope. The responsibilities an attorney pledges to uphold. These are characteristics such as:
- Maintaining communication with clients
- Personal conscience
- Approbation of professional peers, and more
Attorneys who are assisting minors, however, have particular guidelines to meet. Since, usually, the parents or guardians will be representing the child in whatever legal actions taken, the attorney must assist in ensuring the child is receiving the appropriate medical treatment and an eventual settlement, if necessary.
A minor’s representative is allowed to sue or defend on behalf of a child. Representatives include:
- A general guardian
- A committee
- A conservator
- A like fiduciary
In those cases where a minor does not have a duly appointed representative, he or she may have representation from a friend or a guardian ad litem.
Court Approval of All Settlements
The law requires that any settlement acquired by a child receives approval by the court. Lawmakers have put this action in place for the protection of the child’s best interest. This procedure shields the minor from influences from attorneys, insurance companies, and, in some cases, the child’s parents or guardians.
Injuries to children occur too often. Accidents happen not only at schools, daycares, or at a friend’s home. Young people face danger in myriad ways. Patterson Dahlberg Injury Attorneys have had experience with representing families in which children have suffered from injuries as varied as:
- Broken bones
- Spinal injuries
- Paralysis, and more
If your child maintained an injury due to someone else’s negligence, a personal injury lawsuit could help regain any monetary damages that resulted. You have every right to receive restitution for the pain and suffering you and your family have experienced.
The Distribution of Proceeds
In Minnesota, a Hearing on the Petition is ordered to approve, modify, or disapprove the proposed settlement or disposition. During this hearing, the judge also specifies to whom the proceeds are available.
Special Payment Options for Minors
When courts decide on settlements that involve children, judges take into account the child’s long-term stability. Generally, the financial windfall divides into periodic payments. Legally, minors have no say in how their settlements are set up. Parents and guardians must spend the money exactly as the court orders.
Money Market Accounts
The court handles these accounts. Money market accounts are interest-bearing accounts, located in a bank or credit union.
A trustee or a financial advisor supervise this type of trust. But since fees are attached, the settlement might be reduced.
Payments may go to:
- The Registry of the Court, which in Minnesota, is a central registration of guardians and conservators.
- A trust fund
- A court-restricted bank account
- A custodian under the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act
- An appointed guardian
How Settlement Money is Spent
Courts must determine the fairness of the monetary settlement and in what way the plaintiffs’ spend the awarded money. The courts also want to ensure that:
- The money will last over time
- The child receives the payment due
- The child does not spend all the cash at once
- The money will grow
- The money does not go to guardians or parents.
Utilizing Settlement Funds
All of these plans are designed to provide for the child’s eventual:
- College tuition
- Regular cost-of-living adjustments
- Down payment or purchase of a vehicle
- Down payment or purchase of a house
Minnesota Child Injury Lawyer
Since young ones have a right to a safe, happy, protected childhood, it is significantly painful when children face:
- Defective toys
- Defective equipment
- Medial malpractice
- Faulty playground equipment
- Toxicity, and more
When a child suffers from any of these situations, the responsible party is accountable in a court of law. At Patterson Dahlberg Injury Lawyers, we believe that trusting, innocent children should not have to be susceptible to accidents, danger, or harm. When a young person faces injury because of a defective product or the carelessness of another person, we want to help.
Our years of experience and our expertise in this field of the law make us the firm to which you can turn if your child is injured. We will assist you in holding the other party responsible through taking legal action against them.
The types of situations that can lead to the injury of a child include, but are not limited to:
- Unsafe toys
- School bus accidents
- Daycare Injury
- Crib Injury
- Car seat injuries
- Burn injuries
- Amusement park injuries
The list, unfortunately, is extensive. And, sadly, the injuries are caused by another’s negligence of a bus driver, toy manufacturers, or the person who is supervising your child. As difficult as it is for you and the party responsible, the truth is that you may be facing expensive medical bills, long-term care costs, and more.
Contact a Rochester Personal Injury Lawyer
Since 2009, Thomas Patterson and Paul Dahlberg have been serving the needs of the injured in Southeastern Minnesota. With years of experience and vast training in the law, Patterson Dahlberg Injury Lawyers dedicate themselves to getting the best outcome for their clients.
The law firm has recovered more than $120,000,000 for their injured clients. If you need assistance in the area of personal injury involving a child, contact the office today. We will discuss your situation at your initial consultation at no charge. We receive payment when you collect. If you are unable to visit our offices, we will come to you.