When settling a case for a minor it is extremely important that the money is going to actually be there for the minor. Seems pretty obvious. In Wisconsin, courts must usually be involved in approving a settlement for a minor. It’s the governments way of protecting a minor from him or herself, the parents and unscrupulous attorneys.
If I settle a case for a 10 year old what happens 8 years from now, 10 years from now 15 years from now? What happens to the money in the eight years before the kid turns 18. Look what happened last year. If the money was put in the stock market the child may not have as much as awarded in the initial settlement or verdict.
It is the gaurdian ad litem’s (the attorney responsible for advising a Judge as to the appropriateness of a settlement for a minor or “incompetent” victim) job to make sure a victim’s compensation is an appropriate amount and is secure at the outset so it doesn’t get squandered. The gaurdian ad litem recommends certain terms to the court for approval. But, attorneys can’t know everything about the financial world. I certainly don’t.
That is where a structured settlement expert comes into the picture. This article is about Chuck Derenne of Wisconsin. I’ve worked with Chuck a lot over the past 9 years. He is a valuable asset for attorneys who help victims. If you’d like more information about Chuck give me a call and I can put you in touch with him.
If you have questions about a structured settlements in Wisconsin feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to discuss your situation.
Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Amberg, Janesville, Sheboygan and Wauwatosa.
I was contacted recently by a very upset daughter. Her widowed father had passed away. She felt his death was his Doctor’s fault. Sadly I had to inform her that I would listen to her story but would not be able to help her no matter what she said. In Wisconsin (Sec. 655 Wis. Stats.) an adult child has no claim for the loss of a parent because of medical malpractice. The estate of the parent has a claim for pain and suffering but I don’t know of a situation that we would be able to prove pain and suffering when the witness had already passed.
This is an interesting snag in the law. I hope to write about it more in the future.
I’ve had some questions recently about this particular situation. Let’s say a mother (or father) is driving their kids to baseball practice. If Mom (or Dad) forgets to stop at a stop sign and causes a motor vehicle collision what about the kids? What rights do the kids have? Well, if the parents have auto insurance the children have the right to compensation, under Wisconsin Law, from the at fault insurance company, i.e. their parent’s insurance. In essence, the children would make a claim against their parents. If Mom’s (or Dad’s) insurance isn’t reasonable and doesn’t follow Wisconsin Law then the children would have the right to sue their parents and the insurance company.
Sound a little complex and confusing? Not really. Feel free to email me or call and I’ll be happy to explain it to you in more detail.
If you are worried about actually suing a parent. Remember that Wisconsin is a “direct action state” the kids would not have to name the parents in the lawsuit. They would simply seek compensation from the insurance company.
Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha and Wauwatosa.
Tomorrow I’m appearing for a child who was severely injured in a motor vehicle collision in Wauwatosa. I think it’s important to understand how minor settlements work.
When someone under 18 (minor) is injured in an auto accident, dog bite, slip and fall, product liability etc. and the case is settled before a suit is filed it is the INSURANCE COMPANY’S choice to have the settlement approved by a Circuit Court Judge. Why? Because the insurance company wants the personal injury settlement to be finalized. They want to close their file. It doesn’t want the minor to come back when he/she turns 18 and file a lawsuit with an attorney and ask for additional money.
What does a minor settlement mean for the minor? Well, the minors settlement funds have the added protection of the State. Adults shouldn’t be able to dip into the settlement without a hearing before a Judge and a court order. But, in many cases the insurance company refuses to pay the court filing fees. So, the minor gets less money in their pocket.
The reason I mention all of this is the tax ramifications of it. From what I’m told it’s important that the lawyer that settles the case NOT put the funds into his/her attorney trust account or anyplace else for that matter. The personal injury settlement funds need to be sent from the insurance company directly to the annuity company that will be handling the disbursement of the funds.
Just a little attorney to attorney advice for what its worth. If you’d like more information contact me at www.jonpgroth.com.