Legal Question in Personal Injury in Virginia

Minor's rights in auto accidents

The insurance company has offered a settlement on a auto accident that involved my wife and 15 year old child. They both went to a chiropractor. The bills totaled $3600. The company has agreed to pay the medical bills and $2500 each to settle. They say that my 15 year old is protected by law until she is 18. She can then hire a lawyer give back the settlement money and reopen the case to settle herself. When I asked them to put this in writing or give me a copy of the law they told me that was my responsibility and they could not give me that information. My question would be does such a law exsist and if so where can I find a copy? Do minors have special rights for legal guardians settling thier claims?

Asked on 1/11/05, 3:44 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Krall Ritchie Law Firm, PLC

Re: Minor's rights in auto accidents

A claim by a minor is only resolved if a court approves the settlement. Without court approval of a minors claim, no settlement occurs and when the minor reaches 18 , they have 2 years to bring a claim and the insurance carrier would receive a credit or the money would need to be returned to the carrier.

Any money for the minor should be held for them until they reach 18 and then distributed to them. If the money is distributed to the minor and then they bring a claim when they turn 18 and the money has been spent, the parent might have to return the money the minor received to the insurance carrier despite the fact that the minor received the money. This is because the minor cannot contract. The better practice is to have the infant claim approved by the court.

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Answered on 1/11/05, 4:06 pm

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