Can a Minor Settle a Personal Injury Case?

August 31, 2022


Brent Eames

The law limits the legal rights of minors in a variety of ways. Children under eighteen generally have no legal standing to act on their own behalf in legal settings. Of course, kids are not immune from getting injured, and are routinely the victims of negligence resulting in serious personal injuries, or even death. So, how do these minors who have no legal standing pursue a personal injury case? Keep reading to learn more from one of the best personal injury attorneys in Chicago, Brent Eames, about how a minor can pursue a personal injury case.

When a minor suffers an injury, their parent or guardian can hire an attorney to act on their behalf. The parent or guardian can enter into a contract on behalf of the minor and make all pertinent legal decisions on the minor’s behalf. The attorney will be able to take all actions just as he or she would in a normal case, including filing a lawsuit. However, given the legislative interest in protecting the rights of minors, and in order to ensure that nobody is taking advantage of the situation, this process is subject to strict judicial oversight.

In order to formally settle a minor’s case, most jurisdictions will require that an estate be opened in probate court to formally appoint a guardian to act on the minor’s behalf. This is subject to some exceptions based upon the total value of the estate, and the court’s own discretion. However, it is very common for the court to require formal probate proceedings to be commenced prior to the parent or guardian being granted any binding legal authority to enter into a formal settlement agreement on a minor’s behalf.

Additionally, most jurisdictions will require court approval of the settlement and proposed distributions before the guardian of the minor will be allowed to enter into a settlement agreement. This is a statutory requirement which is in place to make sure that nobody is taking advantage of the minor, and the minor’s best interests are being protected. The Court will confirm that the settlement is fair and reasonable given all relevant facts, including liability issues, and damages.

After the Court formally approves the settlement, there are additional steps which need to be taken to confirm that the settlement funds are being protected. Courts will typically require that the funds be deposited into special accounts which are subject to court control and court oversight. Guardians are expected to present vouchers to the Court to confirm that the money was deposited into such an account, and sometimes, guardians are required to report annually to the Court to confirm that no withdrawals have been made.

Any personal injury claim involving a minor is a complicated process. One wrong move, and the entire settlement agreement could be legally compromised. The Eames Law Group  is an experienced law firm that guides people involved in injury claims all across Illinois. We help residents of Illinois gain their lives back after accidents, by managing medical bills and financial setbacks. The Eames Law Group can help people obtain the appropriate compensation and medical assistance from accidents. Eames Law Group has been recognized as a top accident attorney in Chicago based upon A+ rankings for professionalism and reputation. Please contact our law firm for a free consultation.

The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact an attorney at Eames Law Group, Ltd. 

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