There is no greater stress or anguish for a parent than seeing your child injured. It’s a worst nightmare come true. And the last thing you want to worry about is taking legal action when your child is suffering.

At Swartz & Swartz P.C., we are parents and grandparents. Our approach to personal injury claims for an injured child is nothing short of fierce, because we know that at the end of the day nothing, is more valuable than your child. 

Massachusetts’ laws allow parents or guardians to file a personal injury claim on behalf of an injured child – legally referred to as a “minor.” It’s not until the age of 18 that a person is able to file a personal injury claim themselves. For many parents, the goal is to achieve a fair and just resolution to help with the costs associated with the care and rehabilitation of their child – trip to the ER, surgery, physiotherapy, psychotherapy, assisted living devices, even lost wages from needing to take time off work to take care of their injured child. In catastrophic injury cases, future costs can be staggering.

Non-economic damages can also be pursued, including pain and suffering, or the amount of pain your child feels on a day-to-day basis because of their injury, adverse mental health affects, and the loss of enjoyment of hobbies, activities, relationships, and life in general that your child experiences. 

While not all personal injury claims go to trial, often a judge will become involved if you file a personal injury claim on behalf of your child. Why? In Massachusetts, most child personal injury claim settlements must be reviewed by a judge. Generally speaking, this process involves a formal hearing where a judge will review the settlement, decide if it is fair, and importantly, make sure that the parents or guardian understand that the money is for the child’s benefit only. Under Massachusetts’s law, any settlement money is legally the child’s, and courts determine how the money can be accessed and by whom. 

Non-economic damages can also be pursued, including pain and suffering, or the amount of pain your child feels on a day-to-day basis because of their injury…

There are three different circumstances in which a court can authorize settlement payments:

Structured Settlement:

These are essentially installment payments paid to a child over a period of time. These payments are tax-free and can provide financial stability because the court will approve a payment schedule that must be followed. 

Trust Account:

The court may direct that the child’s settlement money be placed into a trust that they will be able to access once they are an adult. (A trust is a right to money or property, which is held in a “fiduciary” relationship by one person or bank for the benefit of another. The trustee is the one who holds title to the trust property, and the beneficiary is the person who receives the benefits of the trust, namely the settlement payment.) 

Guardianship Account:

This is when the court gives the settlement money to the child’s parent or guardian to manage, so that they may cover medical expenses and other costs until the child is an adult.

While there is no hard and fast rule for how the courts will authorize a settlement payment for a child’s personal injury claim, though trusts and structured settlements are the most common when significant settlement funds are involved.

Get help from Swartz & Swartz P.C.

If your child has been injured and you want an experienced attorney who can explain the entire legal process to you, give Swartz & Swartz a call now. Our attorneys will take care of all the details of your legal claim and fight for the justice your child deserves, so you can focus on what’s most important – caring for your child. Give us a call today at 617-742-1900.

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Ms. Daly’s practice includes personal injury, premises liability, products liability and sexual assault. She previously worked for a well-known insurance defense firm and brings a unique perspective to Swartz & Swartz regarding the inner workings of the insurance industry.

 

 

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