Q: My child was in a car accident while driving with another parent. Somebody ran over a stop sign. My kid has medical bills and missed school for about a week. The other driver’s insurance company offered to pay my child’s medical bills and pay her $ 5,000.00 but said it needed court approval. Is that right?
Julianne, Muscle Swarms, AL
A: Yes that’s right. There is a Uniform Transfers to Minors Act that regulates how much money can be transferred to a minor. The age of majority in Alabama is 19 years of age. Usually the court orders that money be kept in an interest-bearing account until the child turns 19.
The court will appoint an attorney to act as the guardian ad litem. The GAL will speak to the child and parents. You can check some medical records to get a sense of the severity of the injuries.
Hopefully a GAL will look at each injury individually. I think sometimes people who are not involved in personal injury tend to focus on the bigger injury, be it a broken finger or arm, and never think of the road rash injury or the sprained ankle. It is important to look at each individual injury individually.
After the GAL has had an opportunity to investigate the matter, the court will schedule a hearing. The court wants to know what the injuries were and how they affected the child. The court wants to know if the child made a full or partial recovery. The court will want to hear from the parents and the child and will consider the recommendations of the GAL.
The courts are free to reject a settlement if the court considers this to be inadequate. The court wants to ensure that the money is withheld for the minor child or used in a manner approved by the court for the child.
The court will order the insurance company to pay the Guardian ad Litem a reasonable fee for the time of the investigation, which will not be deducted from the child’s severance payment.
I hope your daughter has recovered. Work with the Guardian ad Litem and share your feelings and observations about how your child is doing after the accident.
Buckle up, drive safely and, as always, your recommendations are welcome! 256-764-0112
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