Bicycle Accident Injuries to Children
Bicycle accidents can be especially traumatic, especially when the victim is a child. Children can suffer mild to catastrophic injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Road rash
- Cuts, scrapes, bruises
- Spinal cord injuries (SCI)—some of which lead to paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
These injuries are not only expensive but can leave the child with emotional scars and a lifetime of challenges. They deserve compensation for their injuries.
Compensation for a California Child’s Injury Claim
Child injury claims, just like adult injury claims, can end in a negotiated settlement or through a court award after trial. If a settlement agreement is reached, it will typically include specific rules about the distribution of the money and how it is to be used. For instance, the agreement might state that the settlement will reimburse the child’s parents for their medical expenses.
However, some settlements require court approval to ensure that the child receives fair compensation. Under California Probate Code Sections 3611(d)94 and 340195, the court requires approval for settlements over $5,000. Court approval ensures that settlement agreements are enforceable and that the injured child victim won’t have the right to another legal claim when they reach the age of 18. It also ensures that the child’s best interests are fully protected.
What is a Minor’s Compromise Petition?
To obtain court approval, the parents’ attorney, or the child’s guardian ad litem will file a petition called a Minor’s Compromise. The petition must include:
A description of the injury claim, the incident, and the resulting injuries
- All related medical records
- The sum and terms of the settlement
- An inventory of all expenses and costs to be reimbursed out of the settlement money
- A description of how the settlement funds will be managed
After this petition is filed, there will be a minor’s compromise and release hearing in court to seek the court’s approval of the settlement. Although, in some cases, a minor may file an Expedited Minor’s Compromise, which doesn’t require a court appearance.
If the court can confirm that the minor is getting sufficient compensation for the harm they suffered, the petition will be granted. At this hearing, the court will also:
- Approve the attorney’s fees and costs
- Approve all payments, including reimbursement of medical expenses that must be made from the settlement
- Draft an order detailing how the remaining share of the settlement that belongs to the minor will be managed
- Managing a Child’s Compensation
The insurance company and the court want to see to it that the settlement is for the child’s benefit. The court determines what happens to the remaining portion of the settlement proceeds left over after paying legal fees, costs, medical bills, and other expenses. The money should be used for the minor’s benefit until they reach the age of 18 and can manage it independently.
Sometimes money is placed in an annuity and used for periodic payments for the child’s care. Other times, child injury settlements are structured to pay out a pre-determined number of damages each year and not all at once. Typically, the court orders the money to be deposited in a blocked bank account. If anyone needs or wants to withdraw money from the account, they will require a court order.
Let an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney Handle Your Child’s Claim
If your child has been injured in an accident caused by another’s negligence or recklessness, call a dedicated OC bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible.