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In CA, if a minor (under 18) is injured in a car accident, and finally a settlement is reached. Who should sign the form?

San Jose, CA |

The minor or his/her guardians? If the settlement with the insurance company is signed by the guardians, once the minor reaches 18, can he or she overturn the settlement and make a lawsuit against the insured?

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Attorney answers 7


The settlement agreement gets signed by the guardian but is approved by the court at a hearing where the minor is present. This is usually final.

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The insurance company that is giving you the release will tell you what they want. If the case is significant they will almost certainly demand that you obtain court approval for the settlement, in which case the child will not be able to contest the settlement later. However in some cases I have found that the insurance company will allow the parent to sign the release. This might be done where the accident is small and the child is young, so that it is very unlikely he or she will bring a lawsuit 15 years last to challenge the settlement of a minor claim.


A minors claim is supposed to be settled anly if the court approves it. Then the court will authorize the guardian to sign a release. If the claim is settled and no court approval is obtained, the minor has until his 20th birthday unless it is an uninsured motorist claim or a claim against a governmental entity, etc. The time period is shorter in those and some other circumstances. Sometimes an ins co will settle without a court approved minors compromise, with a parent signing a parental release and indemnity agreement, where the parent agrees that if the child later sues on the claim, the parent will indemnify and defend the deft and the ins co from the childs claim. That means the parent would have to pay for attys, costs, and any money the minor is later awarded in such a claim. Thus there is risk to a parent in doing that. Id suggest a consult with a local injury lawyer. Im in downtown San Jose.

Robert 293-4000


Need court approval for minors.


The best practice is to seek court approval.


A minor cannot make a binding legal contract. The guardian would need to sign any releases, subject to court approval of the minor's settlement.

Legal Disclaimer:

If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.


You should probably get an attorney involved. In Georgia, there is a statutory maximum amount of money that a child can receive from the settlement of a tort claim without having to have the settlement probated by the probate court to determine how to best allocate the assets to serve the best interests of the child. While a claim could be, and often is, brought before the child meets the age of majority by a "next friend" (legal term for a legal guardian capable to pursue a claim on behalf of a minor child), it is important that the parties have an attorney that understands probate consequences of settling the minor child's personal injury claim.

Answers to questions does not create an attorney/client relationship. I only am your attorney if I have entered into a written contract, signed by me, wherein I expressly assent to be your attorney. Nothing I post should be construed as legal advice to be acted upon, it is merely a legal opinion.

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