If your child has been injured and you have agreed to settle a claim on his or her behalf, you are not done yet – even if you have a signed settlement agreement in hand. You are only able to obtain the settlement funds for your child after jumping through a few hoops.
Minor’s compromise, often referred to as “minor’s comp,” is the procedure by which a parent or guardian (most likely through an attorney) provides details of a child’s settlement to the court for approval. This court approval is required for every settlement involving a child’s claim, even if no lawsuit has been filed. (There are some exceptions if the settlement is under $5,000.) The judge, in a sense, acts as the child’s advocate in examining the settlement terms to ensure it is a fair compromise for the child since, by agreeing to settle, the child is giving up the right to file a lawsuit down the road. (Children have until they turn 20 years old to file a personal injury lawsuit; the two-year statute of limitations does not start running until they turn 18).
The details of the child’s claim and settlement are examined at a hearing. Although this procedure sounds relatively straightforward, the paperwork required to support a minor’s compromise can be a bit daunting.