Who Can Make Decisions for an Injured Alabama Child?

Feb 27, 2019 | Allen A. Ritchie

Allen’s Answers

Alabama law is protective of an injured child. In fact, you may think the parents can make all the decisions. This is not always the way it works.

Take this example. A child is injured in a car wreck. The parents sue and the other driver’s insurance company makes an offer. The parents agree to take the money. However, the court may order another opinion and may stop the deal entirely.

Here is how it works. Any settlement in Alabama involving a child must be approved by the court. To do this, the court will often appoint an independent attorney to represent the child and see if the offer is fair. This special attorney is called a guardian ad litem. Generally, this guardian will meet with the child, the parents and go over all the medical records (including bills). Then comes the big day where a judge will hear testimony from all three. Usually, it goes smoothly but not always. I have known of cases where the parents want the money, the insurance company wants to pay the least possible and the guardian ad litem is putting on the brakes calling the deal unfair for the injured child.

Here is the takeaway: when a child is hurt in Alabama, no one gets anything until a court approves the deal.

The next question I usually get is what happens to the money? Who gets it?

No matter how upstanding the parents, they will not receive all the money. The money is meant for the benefit of the injured child. The parents may be reimbursed for certain expenses but any payment to them is at a judge’s descension. This also means that a judge can prevent them from receiving any money at all.

If you are hurt in a traffic accident or suffer any other injury, you can talk to us at the Law Firm of Eiland and Ritchie for free. We want to help you get back on your feet.

Also join us on NBC 15 LawCall here in Mobile every Sunday night at 10:30 right after the news. We will take your calls live.

Allen Ritchie

Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer