what can i do if my parent spent my settlement money. the accident was in 2000. i believe the settlement was between 2001-2004. Settled out of court. I never knew. I am still suffering from the accident. i am over 18 now.
Sorry to hear of these circumstances. Your question is quite general, so I can only provide you some things to look for and general suggestions.
The court must approve a settlement. See the following Florida statutes 744.301, 744.387, 744.3025, which provide a breakdown of when a guardian must be appointed as well. Courts typically require such funds to be placed into a restricted account accessible after the minor has reached age of majority.
You will need to obtain a copy of the court order, available at your Clerk of Court's office. That should get you started.
If the court approved the settlement and ordered a restricted account, then it would be puzzling as to how a parent could have accessed same. The bank may have liability if it did not adhere to the court's order and provided access to the funds.
Similarly, the parent could be held liable if he/she did not adhere to the court order and spent your funds. If the court order permitted funds to be withdrawn by a parent for payment of your needs, such as school, clothes, etc., then the parent may have acted properly.
You may also contact the attorney who originally handled the claim to get some of the records (if the file is still maintained, as many firms shred files more than 6 years old).
Ultimately, the terms of the court order and amount of the settlement will be key factors. I definitely suggest you should consult a local lawyer to explore your legal options, especially if a considerable sum was/is a stake.
DISCLAIMER: We do not have an attorney-client relationship. Only those persons who have a signed written fee agreement and authority to represent with me is an actual client. This response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than my educated opinion or viewpoint. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. I recommend you consult a lawyer if you want professional assurance that this information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation. Do not act on any information in this response without seeking legal advice from an attorney in your area.
Best of luck to you.
Personal Injury Lawyer
This is interesting. You should speak with an attorney in your area about this. First, you need to find out the final order that was entered by the court approving your settlement. Generally, the probate court will order funds to be deposited in a savings account to be held until your 18th birth date. If that was not done, several entities including your parents may be liable to you for the money and interest that rightfully belonged to you.
In some jurisdictions--for example here in Cook County, Illinois--if the settlement is less that $10,000 the money can be turned over to the parents and therefore spent by the parents. It is also possible that something like that has taken place in your case--and if so, then there is nothing to do about it.
But start with talking to an attorney immediately. You have only a very limited time span in which you can make these sort of claims.
I hope this helps-
Disclaimer: I am a lawyer licensed in the State of Illinois only, and I am not your lawyer (unless you have been in my office and signed a contract). This communication is not intended as legal advice, and no attorney client relationship results. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice. This is for informational purposes only.
Car / Auto Accident Lawyer
As a minor, your settlement may have required Court approval. If your mother retained a lawyer on your behalf, it would be helpful to start there. You need to find out if there was Court approval and if a Guardian was appointed. This could require your Mother to have contacted the Guardian or another representative responsible for the monies or obtain authorization from a Judge to spend the money. Obviously you will need additional information. Start with your lawyer.