In Florida, the settlement of a personal injury claim or case on behalf of a minor child requires a review and compliance of various Florida Statutes, court rules, and court procedures. Typically, if a settlement involves a gross claim of under $15,000.00, no court approval is necessary. Furthermore, claims or settlements under $15,000.00 do not require the appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem to approve the settlement. In addition, there would be no requirement for the use of a restricted depository for such funds. In some instances, an insurance company or adjuster will require formal court approval for settlements under $15,000 even though there would not be a legal requirement to do so. The authority to settle a case or claim under $15,000.00 without the requirement of a formal appointment, order or bond is set forth in Section 744.301, Florida Statutes.
If the net proceeds payable to the minor child is under $15,000, the net proceeds can be made payable to the parents without formal restrictions by the court. If the net proceeds are $15,000 or more, then courts will require that the funds be deposited into a restricted bank account or annuity. Thereafter, monies can be withdrawn by petition and court order. Courts have the discretion to allow money to be withdrawn based on need and reason. Typically, using funds for necessary medical care and education are deemed reasonable by the courts. It should be pointed out that each case, child and Judge are different. As such, the decision to allow the use of funds from a restricted depository is unique to each case / child.
Since there are complexities to the settlement of the claim or case of a a minor who suffers personal injuries, it is advisable to have representation from a Florida Child Injury Lawyer.