In Florida, cases handled on behalf of minor children for personal injuries are subject to certain laws, rules, and regulations. The overall purpose of these laws is to protect the financial interests of child. It is important that the attorney / lawyer handling a child injury case be experienced and knowledgeable about the Florida law and to make sure that all laws, procedures, and practices are followed in order to act in the best interest of the minor child. When handling a case on behalf of a minor child, there should be a high level of advocacy and protection kept in mind at all times to enforce and protect the legal rights of the injured child.
If a tentative settlement is reached on behalf of a minor child, court approval will be required if the settlement exceeds $15,000. This is the law in Florida pursuant to Section 744.301, Florida Statutes and Section 744.3025, Florida Statutes. If the child will receive a net settlement in excess of $15,000 – then the court will require a guardianship of the property in order to safeguard and secure the funds. The funds for this guardianship will then need to be held in a restricted depository. No funds can be withdraw from this account without court order. It should be noted that the settlement funds belong to the child and not the parent. Settlement funds are not in place to pay rent, car payments, grocery bills, . . . .
These are ordinary expenses that a parent has a duty to pay. The funds are for extraordinary expenses like unexpected medical bills, tutoring, etc. . . Even for these extraordinary expenses, a court order will be required to access any funds from the guardianship restricted account. Ideally, the funds are not spent or used during the child’s minority and at the age of 18 – the child will have some funds to purchase a vehicle, pay for college, or otherwise use the funds as he or she deems fit. Again, the settlement funds belong to the child and not the parent.