What can be done if my 9-year-old girl was attacked by a dog and chucked her bottom lip which is now missing, have a scar and is disfigured? 14 Answers as of February 20, 2014

Almost a year ago, this happened. I don't know if she will have plastic surgery yet, right now we are seeing how it heels, thank God it looks better than I thought it would but still not normal and afraid its heeled as much as its going to and I'm 90% sure surgery in future. The person’s homeowners insurance and my lawyer are already trying to settle. I said I want to make sure her future medical bills r paid for and want to wait to see what surgeon says in April. Lawyer says best to settle now before surgery and my daughters insurance which is only Medicaid will pay future bills. This does not make sense to me. I thought homeowners of person at fault should pay for future bills and I'm worried Medicaid can take her money or I will have to pay them? My next question is they want to settle or $125,000. After lawyer cost $86,000 and cannot be touched until 18 or said money could go in an annuity spread over 4 yrs, 18, 19, 20, 21 and with interest will grow to $98,000 is my only other option. Someone told me they went to court and invested their child's money themselves with a much better interest rate! I want what is best for my child and desperately need the correct answers fast since I'm being pestered to settle. I am not a lawyer and need help! Thank you very much; I hope u can help with sincere advice!

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Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
Typically, a minor's settlement goes into a blocked account per court order. It's true that those accounts don't earn much interest, but the court requires safety above all else. She has until age twenty to settle or file suit, so if you think it's better to wait it's up to you. No-one can see the future. If you use MediCal, I don?t know whether or not they would assert a lien against any recovery.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/20/2014
Vasilaros Legal,LLC
Vasilaros Legal,LLC | Steven T. Vasilaros
The question of when to settle should be addressed with your attorney. However, under current law, your daughter's settlement cannot be disturbed by medicaid payments after settlement. You do not have to accept an annuity plan, but if not, the Court must set up a guardianship for your daughter and all expenditures and investments will be subject to court approval. At age 18, she would automatically be entitled to all balances.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 2/20/2014
Pius Joseph A Professional Law Corp. | Pius Joseph
Since your child is a minor the settlement will have to be approved by the court . The court will not allow any type of risky private investments . The money can be structured for structured pay out at various adult ages starting 18 or 20. You must work with the lawyer to maximize the settlement even if the case takes longer. Has there been a lawsuit filed? Do you have an estimate for the plastic surgery? Has there been a psychological evaluation of the child? The above questions are important and hopefully you have a capable lawyer. Good Luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/19/2014
Lombardi Law Firm
Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
You can sue the owners of the dog or you can sit at home, searching on the Internet for a free answer to your legal question. You can let the owners get away with it or you can find a lawyer to hold them responsible for their carelessness that has turned your 9-year-old daughter into a girl who sits at home waiting for the phone to ring, hoping someone will ask her out to the prom. You can stand up for your daughter or you can hide at home on the Internet hoping somehow a miracle provides you with an answer. You can or you won't. My advice about which financial choice to make comes at a price. If your lawyers don?t understand how to explain the options in front of you then perhaps you need a second opinion. Mine costs $5,000. Make the wrong choice and it can cost you much more. Call with questions.
Answer Applies to: Iowa
Replied: 2/19/2014
Candiano Law Office
Candiano Law Office | Charles J. Candiano
Really? You are paying an attorney $42,000 so you can take free advice? 1. Did you check to make sure that your daughter would not lose her Medicaid eligibility with $86,000 in the bank? 2. Your daughter DOES have access to the money before she turns 18 but NOT without a Court Order. 3. If your daughter is eligible for Medicare, your attorney knows that he CANNOT settle the case before surgery without an MSA (Medicare Set-Aside). You cannot settle a case with the express intent of sticking Medicare with the bill. 4. Is a lawsuit filed? If not, why not? You will settle for short money if not in suit. What documents or other evidence do you have to support the cost of surgery? How do you know it will take only one surgery? How many plastic surgeons have you consulted as to optimum procedure and age to perform it/them? What comparable cases has your attorney provided to the defense in support of case value? What has your attorney done to earn a $42,000 fee?
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 2/19/2014
    Kirby G. Moss PC | Kirby G. Moss
    You need to ask your lawyer what the policy limits of the homeowners policy is as its possible, the 125000 is best to be had. If limits are higher, I would not agree to any settlement before talking to the surgeon as then you may have better handle on future medical bills.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 2/19/2014
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    I WOULD SUGGEST TO YOU THAT IF YOUR LAWYER GOT YOU A SETTLEMENT OFFER OF 125000 HE IS PROBABLY A SUPERIOR LAWYER. IF IT WERE ME I WOULD GET A PLASTIC SURGEON TO QUOTE ME HIS OPINION AS TO THE NEED FOR SURGERY, THE LIKELIHOOD OF SUCCESS, AND THE COST. BUT 125 IS 125. ANY FUNDS AFTER ATTY FEES AND COSTS WILL BE HELD TIL THE CHILD IS 18.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 2/19/2014
    Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S.
    Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S. | Wayne J. Wimer
    A settlement guardian ad litem has to be appointed in Washington State, and that attorney will go over the pros and cons of settlement with a fine toothed comb. So consult with "your" attorney and with the settlement guardian ad litem. Settlement in part depends upon the amount of liability insurance that the homeowner had in place. If there is permanent scarring and the need for future surgery and the homeowners' insurance is say $250,000 a settlement for 1/2 of the available insurance seems too cheap on the surface of what you have stated.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/19/2014
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    If your lawyer has not already done so and you are concerned about the cost of future medical care, get a report from the physician has to whether future care will be needed and if so, what it will cost. Then, discuss that with your lawyer. if that has already been done, that cost should have been factored into the settlement offer and your lawyer's recommendation to accept it. Discuss that with your lawyer. Also discuss the options of a lump sum versus a structured settlement with your lawyer as well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 2/19/2014
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    If you're not happy with your lawyer or his work , get another one. You should be sure that you have all of the information about your child's future before you reach a settlement. You don't have to take their structured settlement either. You can take a lump sum payout is invested prudently yourself for your child if the probate court approves it. If you're in Connecticut please feel free to call us for all of your options.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 2/19/2014
    Ty Wilson Law
    Ty Wilson Law | Ty Wilson
    You spent the time and effort to hire an attorney, you should speak with them on this matter as you are represented by counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 2/19/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    I am sorry but your lawyer is usually the best person to advise you regarding these issues. It would be unethical of me to second-guess the attorney, especially since I don't know what jurisdiction you are in. If you really want advice, take your file to another local attorney and have him or her review. But frankly, based on the little bit you said, this does not sound like a bad deal.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 2/19/2014
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    I didn't even finish reading the question. I got up to the phrase "my lawyer". You have a lawyer, that's whom you should ask.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/19/2014
    Law Offices of John W. Merting, P.A.
    Law Offices of John W. Merting, P.A. | John W. Merting
    Florida law holds that owners of dogs are liable for injuries caused by their dog. Hopefully the owner has homeowners or renters liability insurance which should pay damages and not just medical bills.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/19/2014
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