When Child Is Injured in Texas, What Happens?

When I am finalizing the case for my client, I give them the questions and answers in advance and we even practice them ahead of time if requested, as sometimes people are nervous appearing in a courtroom. I try to ask leading questions where all my client has to do is answer yes or no. After the judge signs the final judgment, the parties leave and get other copies signed and the case is over except for the funding of the money.
WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
Until the child reaches the age of majority of 18 (or is emancipated before that, which rarely happens), he cannot receive the money. However in extraordinary circumstances I have seen courts release some of the money before that time. Yesterday the court refused the mother’s request to have her teenage daughter receive all of the funds now so she could purchase a car and for other college related activities.
1.  Registry of the court: If the sum is small, usually below $10,000 or so, the cost of setting up an annuity outweigh the advantages and the money is deposited into the registry of the court. This means that it is deposited into the county’s bank account, where it is safe.
It accrues interest until the child goes down to the county’s accounting department with proof of his age and he can receive his funds.  These days, the interest rates are low, and the money will not grow much.
The money belongs to the child and cannot be paid to the parents unless the court makes an unusual exception, as noted above. The parents have a legal obligation to support their children and cannot use that money for living expenses. 
At age 18, without a release and signed court order, the child could otherwise sue the tortfeasor for damages, since the statute of limitations is tolled until that date.
2. Structured settlement: If the amount is larger, it is advantageous to hire an annuity broker who specializes in personal injury cases to quote different options for how the money can grow larger and be distributed at times that are better for the child.
One popular choice is referred to as “the college plan,” where the payments are divided equally for four years, either annually or semi-annually or even monthly. I have seen parents not want their child to get his money until a later age. This is an area to be worked out between the parents, the plaintiff’s attorney, and the guardian ad litem. There are a few insurance brokers who specialize in these and your attorney will know who to contact.
The money is guaranteed and will only be invested with a top-rated national financial institution. The interest rate will be higher than the first option , but again, in today’s low interest environment, will not be that large. The principal and interest will be received tax-free, which is an advantage. The broker charges a small fee.
The money cannot be invested in the stock market or other risky investment.

WE CAN HELP

Berenson Injury Law has a lot of experience pursuing personal injury claims on behalf of adults and children. I am often asked to represent children and have handled many of these cases for the parents of injured children over the past almost 40 years.

If your child has been injured in a car or truck accident here in Fort Worth or Dallas or the North Texas area, we know what to do.

Please call us at 1-888-801-8585 or email us here if you have any questions.

 

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