How does a Minor Car Crash Settlement Work in Louisville, Kentucky?
Yesterday I resolved a Louisville car crash case for a child with a facial fracture. The case is complicated in that my client’s mother was the driver. She was at fault for the crash.
The mother carried a $25,000.00 policy. Her carrier initially offered $17,100.00. That was bumped up to $18,500.00. I was told there was no more room by the adjuster. He asked me to come “off the policy.” I told him no. I expressed to the adjuster the defendant/mother would be asked the following: “What is your child’s pain and suffering worth? A few hours later they emailed me the $25,000.00 release. Sometimes knowing which buttons to press is all you need. And in the long run this adjuster made the right decision which was nice to see.
Your first question is did the kid sue his mother? He did not. We resolved the case pre-litigation and it is his mothers insurance company that is paying. That is not to say I wouldn’t have sued his mother if they didn’t pay an appropriate amount to resolve the case.
Probate Court Approval
Because my client is under 18 years old the settlement must be approved by the probate court. What this means is that paperwork must be filed with the court outlining the injuries, the settlement, and where the money is going. It is called a Petition to Approve Minor Settlement. In Jefferson County, Kentucky this motion is required for car crash cases involving a minor when the amount is over $10,000.00.
The reason for this process is to ensure a minors funds are not mismanaged or misplaced. Plenty of parents have the best intentions for their kids, but there are some bad apples that have taken money and caused this issue.
In order to file the petition I’ll first draw up closing documents showing where the money is going. This will show the settlement, fees, costs, liens that are being paid back, and medical expenses associated with the car crash.
Next, I will attach those closing documents to the Motion to Approve Minor Settlement. Depending on the case some medical bills may be attached to show proof of payment. The motion will also state what injuries were sustained. It will state how my client is doing now.
An affidavit from a guardian stating they approve of the settlement will attach. A proposed order placing the funds in a blocked account is next. That order will place the funds in an untouchable account until the minor turns 18. This makes the money inaccessible to anyone without a court order.
Next, I will go to the probate office and get a hearing date. This will allow the judge to evaluate my motion. When I show up to court I will ask for her/his approval of my motion/order.
If a judge thinks everything is acceptable they will sign the order. This allows the guardian to sign the insurance company release. That will be sent to the insurance company in exchange for a check. I will then take the order with me to the bank along with the insurance company check for deposit. Paperwork will be filed with the court confirming deposit of the funds.
Its a time consuming process. However, it ensures my clients money goes where it is meant to go.
Each case is different, but that is a general outline.
I’m happy to answer any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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