Categorized | Opinion

Settling Injury Cases for Children

By David Peel
As the father of three, I especially enjoy working with children who are recovering from injuries from accidents. Tennessee requires children’s cases to be court approved to be final and binding.
This is how the actual law reads:
Tennessee Code § 29-34-105 (2017)
(a) Notwithstanding any other law or rule to the contrary, a judge or chancellor may sign an order approving any tort claim settlement involving a minor that is less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) by relying on affidavits from the legal guardian.
The court shall conduct [an in] chambers hearing at which the minor and legal guardian are present to approve any tort claim settlement involving a minor that is ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more.
(b) Such affidavit as described in subsection (a) shall contain the following:
(1) Description of the tort;
(2) Description of the injuries to the minor involved;
(3) Statement that the affiant is the legal guardian;
(4) Amount of the settlement;
(5) Statement that it is in the best interest of the minor to settle the claim in the approved amount; and
(6) Statement of what the legal guardian intends to do with the settlement proceeds until the minor reaches the age of eighteen (18).
(c) This section shall not apply to structured settlements.
(d) In the order approving any tort claim settlement authorized by this section, the court shall have the discretion to determine whether the settlement proceeds are to be paid to the minor’s legal guardian or held in trust by the court until the appropriate time.
Here is an example of a minor settlement:
$100,000.00     gross settlement
$ -33,333.33    attorney’s fee as approved
$ –  1,110.00    litigation costs and expenses
$ –     505.00    medical bills remaining to be paid
$ –  5,000.00    health insurance subrogation for $23,000 in medical bills, paid at $9,000 and negotiated down.
$60,061.67 Total in pocket to child, held in trust till 18 or invested in structured settlement.
Injury settlements are tax free. Structured settlements even grow tax free. A structure may make monthly payments for college from ages 18-22, and then produce lump sums at say, 30, 35 and 40. Any combination is possible.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in tractor trailer and car accidents, medical malpractice, and disability. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed

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