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Who Gets Compensation if My Child Is in a Car Accident?

Written by Jared Staver

Read Jared's Bio

Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents

Harm to a child is a parent’s worst nightmare. If someone’s negligence led to your child’s injuries in a car accident, your primary focus is helping your child return to wellness. You must also protect the child’s rights to compensation from those at-fault for the accident and safeguard any recovery.

Once the parties agree to a settlement in a child’s personal injury case, you may wonder who gets the compensation. A child cannot handle large sums of money, after all. You can depend on the personal injury attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., to explain how the law handles compensation for your child’s injuries.

Contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today at (312) 236-2900 or online to understand who gets compensation when a child is in a car accident.

Understanding Personal Injury Cases Involving Minors

Under Illinois law, minors – those under 18-years-old – cannot file a personal injury lawsuit in their names. Instead, you must do it as the “next best friend.” You bring the claim on behalf of your child in your name.

When you opt to pursue your child’s claim, you must do so within two years from the time of the injury. That is the statute of limitations – or time you have to file – for personal injury claims in Illinois. But if you miss that deadline, your child’s claim doesn’t die. The child is granted two years past the age of 18 to make his or her personal injury claim. However, the problem with waiting is that evidence may degrade – especially if your child was very young at the time of the accident.

Any settlement of the claim must be court-approved. The court acts as “parens patriae” in the matter. It does this to ensure the child benefits from the settlement and not the parents.

What Happens To the Settlement Proceeds

Settlement of a minor’s claim must go through the probate court. The court requires the following information before approving the settlement:

  • Accident facts
  • Alleged liable parties
  • Legal claim
  • Defenses
  • Child’s medical record
  • Amount of liability insurance coverage
  • Attorney’s fees and expenses
  • Net amount due to child

When the court approves the settlement, the proceeds go into a court-controlled bank account. The money stays there until the injured child turns 18. To withdraw any of the funds, you must petition the court and state why it is needed. The judge decides if the reason is an appropriate use of the child’s funds.

Understand that requests for necessary expenses related to child-raising likely won’t be approved. If the court grants the request, you must produce a receipt showing that you spent it for the stated reason.

Some parents are worried about a child coming into a lot of money at 18. Our personal injury attorneys can help fashion options to address those concerns. Options include “structured settlements” that prevent the entire amount from being available immediately. The court must approve any such options.

Contact Us if Your Child Was Hurt in an Accident

When you’re child is hurt, all you want to do is make it better. After a car accident, you are focused on your child’s physical and mental recovery. All negligent parties must pay for the injuries they caused to your child. Let Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. help. We can fight for the compensation your child deserves and explain how a court protects the award until your child is 18.

Our car accident attorneys serve clients throughout the Chicago area, including Aurora, Elgin, Hinsdale, Joliet, Naperville, and Waukegan. Call (312) 236-2900 or use the online form to set up a free consultation about your child’s personal injury claim following a car accident.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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