When a child is injured in a car crash, receiving compensation for their injuries can be challenging. The Probate Court advocates for minors and individuals with disabilities. It requires obtaining a written agreement signed by a parent or guardian before any settlement funds are distributed. This article will explain how to get a petition for minor’s compromise in California and what the process entails.
When Do I Need a Petition for Minor’s Compromise?
Under California law, a minor child injured in a car crash or other accident cannot sign off on a settlement agreement until age 18. The state has measures to protect minors and any personal injury settlements they receive. If a total settlement is less than $5,000, parents or guardians can manage settlement funds directly without court approval. Major insurance carriers in California usually waive the minor’s compromise in these cases as well.
The Process to Obtain a Petition for Minor’s Compromise in California
However, if the total settlement exceeds $5,000, the court must issue a minor’s compromise. The case must be opened with the court and then:
- A Guardian Ad Litem Is Appointed: They can be the minor’s parent (if not also involved in the claim) or any adult close to and able to serve on behalf of the minor. This step requires Form CIV-010: Application and Order for Appointing Guardian ad Litem.
- Court Documents Are Prepared: Key documents include the Petition to Approve Compromise of Disputed Claim (MC-350) and Order Approving Compromise of Disputed Claim (MC-351). Banking documents must be completed as well. If the requirements are met, an expedited petition can be requested (with form MC 350EX).
- Other Required Documents Are Completed: The court must see supporting documents that specify the reasonableness of the compromise of the claim. These include medical bills, doctors’ reports, examination records, and photographs (subject to privacy restrictions).
- Submit Financial Documentation: Court approval requires reviewing medical lien documents, Medicare or Medi-Cal confirmations of balances due or reimbursements, and attorney fee requests. You must also identify the bank name and address used for the blocked account and an annuity contract with the intended annuity company and schedule of payments.
- A Hearing Is Scheduled: As of January 1, 2022, the court must schedule a hearing within 30 days of the filing of a petition for minor’s compromise in California. During the court hearing, the minor, their guardian, and their attorney will appear before a judge. The compromise is approved if all the required paperwork is provided.
- The Court Makes a Decision: The judge grants the minor’s compromise and then the court determines where the money will go. The court’s determination depends on the extent of the minor’s injuries, the total settlement amount, the cost of litigation, and how the funds will be used.
- The Funds Go into a Blocked Account or Annuity: Opening a blocked account assures the funds are used for the minor’s benefit. It is either an interest-bearing account or an annuity. Only the minor can access it on or after their 18th birthday. The exception is if these funds are needed to address immediate needs such as medical care, food, and shelter.
Fund Capital America Can Help with a Petition for Minor’s Compromise in California
A petition for minor’s compromise requires a lot of legal paperwork and Fund Capital America can do the heavy lifting for you. If you’re the parent or guardian of an injured minor child, our legal experts will complete all the required forms. We provide pre-settlement funding services as well. Contact us at (855) 870-2274 today to learn more.