This is a very difficult situation you are in and having handled a lot of birth injury claims, I know that the parents suffer quite a bit as well. What you are describing in terms of the guardian ad litem, however, is very common. In all cases involving injury to a child, and especially what I assume to be a serious injury here, the Court will want an independent attorney (the guardian ad litem) to review the case and make recommendation for the settlement funds that are first and foremost in the best interests of the child. Usually in these circumstances the guardian will want to ensure that the child's needs (especially medical care) are taken care of first and foremost. If the family is also suffering financial hardship, often the guardian (and the Court) will be extra diligent and cautious with earmarking funds from the settlement to the parents. They are primarily concerned that due to financial hardships separate from the child's care, the money might be spent on things other than the child's needs. It is not unusual for the parents to get some money from the settlement funds because you have certainly suffered a recoverable damage. But usually the vast majority of the funds are preserved for the child and the Court will require those funds to be put in a trust for the child managed by an independent trustee. Based solely on your description it sounds like your lawyer is not doing anything wrong by not paying any bankruptcy debt. That's for the court to decide. Good luck with your situation and I hope everything turns out well.
I agree with the other attorney
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As a NY attorney experienced with birth injury issues and the trauma they cause to the entire family, I fully understand that the parents of the injured child suffer immeasurably, and how little they are compensated for their suffering. Attorney Alsaffar has given you a good answer. I would point out that in most cases involving birth injury and jury awards or settlements, a large portion of the money is allocated to the cost of the child's extraordinary day-to-day care, which may include nursing, home health aid, special transportation, and other services. If the child is living at home, often the parents provide some or all of these extraordinary services and as such, they are entitled to be paid from the child's trust funds accordingly. Most guardians/trustees happy to cooperate with these legitimate expenditures for the benefit of the child and these funds can help offset some of the financial burden if one or both of the child's parents cannot work outside of the home due to the child's needs. Do not be afraid to speak up as your child's well being is closely tied to your own. Just keep in mind the the child's settlement must always be used for the benefit of the child. Good luck!
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