Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Personal Injury Cases for Minors

As personal injury lawyers practicing in the Kansas City area for many years, we have, unfortunately, handled many cases where the victim was a minor. When the plaintiff in a personal injury case is a minor, there are certain requirements that must be followed to get compensation. Here are some of the things one must do when prosecuting a personal injury case on behalf of a minor.

One, the minor must have a guardian or next friend appointed to act on his or her behalf. For any case where the plaintiff is under the age of 18, Missouri law requires the case be brought by someone over the age of 18 on the minor’s behalf. Usually that person is the parent, but in some situations it can be a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or even a family member friend. The person who acts on the minor’s behalf will be the one to sign all of the documents and will be making the ultimate decisions for the minor.

Two, any settlement money over a certain amount must be set aside in a restricted account until the minor turns at least 18. Missouri law requires any settlement money in a minor’s personal injury case must go to the minor and not his or her guardian. Sometimes the guardian can get a little bit of the minor’s settlement money if he or she had out-of-pocket expenses (like missed time from work to take the minor to the doctor’s office), but generally speaking, the money must go to the minor. Because of minor’s can’t have bank accounts in their own name until they are 18, it must be set aside in a restricted account until that date.

Three, minor settlements over a certain amount of money must be approved by a judge. This is to ensure that the law requiring such settlements be for the sole benefit of the minor is being followed. Even if the minor’s case is settled before a lawsuit is filed, there must be a petition for approval filed with the court and the petition must be heard and granted by the judge.

These are the major requirements that pertain to minor personal injury cases. If you have any questions about such cases, please feel free to contact my firm at any time.