Does my father owe me money from a lawsuit as a child?

by Chris
(Colorado Springs, CO)

I was injured in a bus accident around the age of 12 and my father received a settlement for it. I had a lot of back pain and still do to this day. I also still have anxiety issues when it comes to driving, it's so bad I can't drive without a panic attack.

I was told by my mother that my father bought a new car and some other stuff with that money and I received some medical care but not enough. I am now 27 years old and am not sure if it's too late to make a move or if I am even entitled to the money in the first place.

My father recently tried to say my brother and I are not his real kids in court hearings during his divorce with my mother. This is not true but it shows the kind of man he is. Also, he lives in Alabama and I live in Colorado.

Any perspective you can give on this issue would be appreciated, thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Does my father owe me money from a lawsuit as a child?":

Chris (Colorado Springs, CO):

If you are asking if you have any legal recourse against your "father," biological or not, the answer is probably no. In most jurisdictions you would have had two years from the date you turned 18 to file a lawsuit against him. Colorado is one of the many states which has a 2 year Statute of Limitations, or "time period" in which to either settle most civil actions or to file suit.

If at or about the time of your 12th birthday your father was named as a trustee over your personal injury settlement, he would have a "fiduciary duty" to have used that money for your best interests, and not his.

Although I am not taking his side, if you were to have contested his purchase of a new car with your funds, he might have said he purchased it because the one he had was in disrepair and he needed a new one to safely transport you to various places.

If though, there was other money which you believe he squandered he would have breached his fiduciary duty to protect your best interests with that money. Regrettably, if he breached that duty there is little or nothing you can do about it now.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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