How to settle an auto accident claim for my 17 year old son?

by Melissa

My 17 year old son was in an auto accident where he was the passenger. He went to the hospital and received medical treatment. He had internal bleeding of the liver, a contusion on his lungs and a head concussion.

I did not hire an attorney and now the insurance company is contacting me with a full settlement request. But the insurance adjuster is telling me they can not release the money to me (the parent) without court approval. He told me the judge will lock the money away until my son reaches 21 years of age.

My son is getting ready to graduate high school and wants control of his money if he needs it. I can see waiting until 18 but not 21. The insurance adjuster told my we can wait until my son is 18 and not set up a court date.

What should I do? My son's medical bills total $16,000 which they are telling my they need to deduct from the final settlement, but there are no liens. It seems confusing. Can you clarify what's going on here? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "How to settle an auto accident claim for my 17 year old son?":

Melissa (Mississippi):

The insurance company may not be correct in telling you the judge will "lock the money away" until your son reaches the age of 21. The insurance company is protecting itself when they tell you they won't release the money to you without a court order.

They are concerned if they release the money to you and you spend it, when your son turns 18 he may sue them for releasing his money to someone other than him. Technically it's his money.

You would be well served to contact an attorney. Your attorney will be able to file a petition with the court. In the petition she can ask the court to order the insurance company to release the money to you as trustee for your son. The court will agree to do so of you can prove the money is necessary to pay your son's medical bills and other costs related to his injuries.

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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