Settlement for Childhood Injuries...
My father was injured by his mother's boyfriend when he was 9 months old which resulted in the loss of vision in one eye. During his childhood he was told that there was money set aside for him because of his eye and that he would be 'taken care of.'
My grandmother married a different man a few years later (the two have since both passed, step-grandfather of recent) and these stories of money quickly ceased as my father grew. My parents and I have just become more curious as to these claims and would like to know if there is any way we can find out if these claims were true.
To add insult to injury, my step-father accumulated over $500,000 in assets during his life, purchasing new homes, and several new vehicles over the years with his only income being a small disability check.
We have since learned that upon his death he willed the entire estate to his one biological daughter; leaving nothing of my grandmother's to her other two children (who he had helped raise since childhood and lived beside their entire lives).
We are speculating that there was a hospital settlement at the time of my father's injury and my stepfather spent the entire thing. Any advice as to where to start would be extremely helpful. Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Settlement for Childhood Injuries...":
We can only speculate that your grandfather was over the age of 50 when he passed. That being said you are talking about going back almost 50 years to attempt to locate a settlement agreement. That would be your greatest obstacle.
We recommend you make every effort to locate the attorney who represented your father those many years ago. If by chance she is still practicing law she would be the best resource available.
Additionally you might attempt to speak with the attorney who probated your step-father’s estate. She too might be able to shed some light on the subject.
Finally you might consider going to the County Clerk’s office in the county in which your father lived as a child. If there was a settlement agreement the insurance company making the settlement may have requested the court to intervene and appoint someone to represent the best interests of your father (to be sure the money went into some sort of a trust to be given to him when he reached adulthood).
Often insurance companies, when settling cases involving personal injuries for children, will insist there be court intervention to make sure the money is saved for the child and not spent by the parents. In those cases the court appoints a person, usually a respected attorney as “Guardian ad Litem” for the child.
That way the attorney, who is paid by the court and therefore has no financial interest whatsoever in the money, makes sure the money is safely invested for the child, and that if his mother or father want to take some of the money out to pay for the child’s school, dentist, or other real and necessary costs, the parents would have to go to the attorney and ask for just the amount of money necessary to pay for the child’s specific needs at the time.
If the attorney is not satisfied that the request is absolutely necessary she will not allow the money to be taken out.
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,
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