If you were in a car accident that involved a minor child, and you and the minor child sustained injuries, you both may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, which may include compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other resulting harms or losses from the accident. Often these cases are resolved through a settlement agreement, whether before or after filing a lawsuit.
When the car accident caused injuries to a minor child, there are important factors to consider when reaching a settlement. Generally, the court must approve a settlement that includes a minor child because the minor child does not have the legal capacity to enter into a binding contract as a matter of law. The court can appoint someone with the legal power to represent the minor child and enter into a settlement agreement on his or her behalf. Often though, a formal appointment is not needed because the minor child lives under the care of a parent who is not being sued. Accordingly, the parent can represent the minor child and enter into a settlement agreement on behalf of the minor child.
The court, however, must still approve the settlement agreement, and may schedule a hearing. If the matter is settled before filing a lawsuit, the settlement agreement must be filed with the court for its approval in the county where the child resides. If the matter is settled following the filing of a lawsuit, then the judge assigned to the case would have to approve the settlement agreement. Without the court’s approval, a settlement agreement on behalf a minor child may not be valid and enforceable, so it is important to follow the required procedure.