What to Expect in a Child Injury Case
After your child is injured in an accident, you will likely have lots of questions. “How does the legal process work if the victim is underage?” “Will my child have to go to court?” Well, the truth is that child injury cases aren’t too different from adult injury claims.
What to Expect
The two processes are primarily identical because a child who is injured deserves compensation just as an adult would. An attorney will evaluate the extent of the child’s injuries, cost of medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages to calculate an accurate compensation amount. Investigations to acquire evidence, testimony, and experts are also just as common.
Fortunately, our team has noticed that children generally recover much faster than adults in car collisions and other accidents. However, just because they usually recover faster doesn’t mean their medical expenses are less costly or their suffering is any less traumatic.
How Catastrophic Injury Claims Work
Unfortunately, our team has worked with numerous minors who have experienced catastrophic injuries with permanent or long-lasting damage. These cases are unique because an attorney will need to go to court to ensure that the settlement offered is in the child’s best interest and that the settlement goes to the child as agreed upon.
In Texas and New Mexico, there is a specific procedure that keeps the settlement secure until the child turns 18. If it’s a smaller settlement, it will be held by the Registry of the Court or in a special savings account that can only be accessed by the minor when he or she turns 18. For larger payments, many will buy a structured insurance annuity that will guarantee tax-free payments when the child comes of age. While there is a cost to all investments, a structured annuity has a higher return rate than placing the funds in the Court’s Registry, and both the principal and the gains are tax-free.
The Role of Guardian Ad Litem
A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is a third party, appointed by the Court, working in the injured child’s best interests. The goal of the GAL is to make sure that the settlement is fair and adequate for the minor and to ensure that the settlement funds are properly invested. As a representative of the Court, the Guardian ad Litem’s only duty is to the injured child. The GAL is paid by the settling party’s insurance company. It has been my honor to act as GAL in numerous cases involving injured children.
If we had it our way, no child would ever be injured or harmed, but the reality is that accidents happen every day. If your child or the family of someone you know needs legal guidance after an accident, call (915) 584-8777. Our team can ensure every child receives the justice and compensation they deserve.