Children in Car Accidents
I recently represented a client and her daughter who were in a car accident in West Valley City, Utah. My clients were hit from behind while they were stopped, and the impact smashed in their back bumper. The daughter was taken to the hospital. She was released after medical testing with a neck collar. She had to wear the neck collar for a couple weeks as a precaution.
Child in a Car Accident
Car accident cases where a child is injured present some unique legal consequences. Unlike adults, children or minors usually cannot resolve their own car accident injury case as only legal adults can settle a claim. Anyone under the age of 18 is considered a minor, except for a few unusual exceptions. Even if a minor is about to turn 18, they are still considered a minor until they do. This was the situation for the car crash in West Valley City.
Legal Guardian Needed
In most situations, the child’s parent or legal guardian needs to be involved to resolve or settle a minor’s car accident claim. There are exceptions for unusual circumstances.
Court Oversight Required
In Utah, if a minor is going to receive more than $10,000 from a settlement with an insurance company, court oversight is required. That is because there is a Utah statute that indicates that payments to minors or their guardians can only be made in sums of $10,000 or less per year. Most insurance companies will require court oversight as well to protect themselves from future legal liability.
What is required at court?
The court will generally require a Petition to be filed, along with other documents. There will then be a hearing to determine if the settlement is in the minor’s best interest. Depending on the case, some judges will want quite a bit of information and evidence regarding the settlement. At other times, the hearing can be quicker, especially in smaller cases or cases where settlement is clearly the best option. Once the judge approves the settlement, the court will enter an order. This order is then sent to the insurance companies for payment.
With the recent bad weather, it’s important that we all drive safe. Even though my clients in this car accident in West Valley City were not injured horribly, lingering injuries still can negatively impact someone’s life. Just ask anyone who has suffered a back injury, regardless of the cause.
If you have been injured in a car accident in West Valley City or West Jordan, Utah, please give Symkoviak Law a call at 801-738-9999.