Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Discovery: Personal Injury Settlements for Minors

In my 18 years of practicing law, I have had the honor to represent many minors in personal injury cases. Cases involving minors are often the most tragic because of their age, how long they’ll have to live with their injuries, and the traumatic effect the injuries have on their mental health. In addition to the many special rules for these minor’s cases, there are special requirements for the settlement of a minor’s case. Here are a few:

Any settlement must be signed off by the minor’s guardian.

Minor’s do not have the legal authority to make contracts, including settling personal injury cases. Therefore, the law requires their cases to be prosecuted and handled by a guardian ad litem. This person is usually the minor’s parents and the case is brought in under the guardian’s name. One of the duties of the guardian is to approve and sign settlement agreements.

Any settlement of a certain amount requires court approval.

The Missouri legislature passed RSMo. 436.700, which establishes a threshold of $35,000.00 for court approval. Any minor settlement above this amount must be approved by a judge. If a minor settlement is below this amount, the guardian ad litem must follow the rules in section 436.700.

The settlement must go in a special account.

Regardless of whether court approval is necessary, the money in the minor settlement must go into either a restricted account or an annuity for the minor’s benefit. If the money is put into an account, access is restricted and anyone who wants to withdraw from it before the minor turns 18, must get court approval.

There are many other rules and procedures that are unique to a minor’s personal injury case. If you have a young one who was injured because of someone else’s negligence and needs help, please feel free to contact Meyerkord, Russell & Hergott. We’ve handled many such cases and are familiar with these rules.