What can I do if my parents spent my settlement money that I got after an injury accident when I was a minor? 22 Answers as of February 04, 2013

What is my best course of action for 1)finding out all the details of it? It was 1994. 2)Can I somehow request the documents from the bank it was at?3)What are my options?Thank you.

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Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
Get a lawyer, preferably the one who handled the case. That lawyer could have a problem if you were not protected.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/4/2013
Law Office of Christian Menard
Law Office of Christian Menard | Christian Menard
When a minor is injured as a result of an accident, most settlements must be approved by the court by way of a "Minor's Compromise". If there has been no lawsuit filed, the insurance company who is making the payment on behalf of its insured responsible party normally insists that the settlement be approved by the court by way of the compromise. If the court approves the settlement the funds typically go into a blocked account at a local bank. Withdrawals can only be made by court order

The courthouse where the lawsuit and/or Minor's Compromise was filled will have the documents you are looking for. These records will also show your attorney of record whom you may call for further information as to that settlement.

In the event the formalities were not followed, including the retention of a lawyer's services but, instead, was informally settled by your parents then that is a completely different story.

An alternative would be to sue your parents for beach of their fiduciary duties to you. However, there I'd a statute of limitations within which you must file such a suit which statute starts running once you attain majority status.

As to contacting the bank, you could try that but chances are they do nit have the information due to its age. Likewise, you could try to contact the insurance company who paid the money for the settlement. It may also have some liability if it did not insist on a Minor's Compromise. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2013
Henry Lebensbaum | Henry Lebensbaum
If you are an adult, speak to a lawyer. You have a right to recoup.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 1/28/2013
David P. Slater, esq.
David P. Slater, esq. | David P. Slater
Depends on how long ago this occurred and when you reached your majority.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 1/28/2013
Law Offices of Mark West
Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
I would start at the court and try to look up the court file on the case, if there was an action filed. If there was a settlement without a lawsuit filed, then you could go to the bank and try to find out what happened to the money; i.e. If there was actually ever a blocked account set up which your parents could not get into. If there was such an account, there might (although difficult) be a case against the bank for releasing the money to your parents (if that is what they did and did without a court order) and also there could be a claim against your parents (which is sad) for conversion - taking your money.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2013
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Make sure you know what you are talking about. Your parents had a duty to take care of you and your medical bills. they may have spent your funds on you or your doctors. If they in fact converted your funds without good cause to help you then you could sue them for conversion. You could issue a subpoena to the insurance co and bank (what is a bank to do with your case?) if you are talking about big bucks, go for it if you know what you are doing. But if you don't know either about the size of the fund or how it was spent or why, forget it. you really want to sue your parents. You can but it doesn't say much for you or them does it.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 1/25/2013
    John Russo | John Russo
    If there was an attorney who handled this that would be the place to start, if not contact the insurance company who paid the settlement, the funds should have been held in some form of trust for you, but your parents will argue that the monies received offset amounts they paid out during your alleged injury period, this will not be easy but you need to start from almost the beginning to see haw the settlement was structured that the key.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 1/25/2013
    Curry, Roby & Mulvey Co., LLC
    Curry, Roby & Mulvey Co., LLC | Bruce A. Curry
    In Ohio, minor's settlements must be approved by the probate court and then all expenditures must be periodically approved by the court. If your original settlement was not approved by the probate court, and further assuming that the applicable statute of limitations has not expired after you reached adulthood, then you would still be able to bring a lawsuit against the party that injured you. If the original settlement was approved by the probate court and your moneys were not spent in the manner represented by your parents to the court, then your remedy would be to petition the probate court for your parents to disgorge the moneys. Court records should be available for inspection by the public and I would start there. You may also be entitled to obtain the bank's records since you were the beneficiary, but state law on this issue varies from state to state.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 1/25/2013
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    The County Clerk should have something on file. Find out what court and what judge. There should be a case number assigned. Once you have that, get a copy of the Order approving settlement. Find the lawyer who represented you and see if he/she still has your file, and obtain a copy. Then, get a lawyer who can bring an action demanding an accounting, and if your parents did in fact spend the money but not to your benefit, you can get restitution.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/25/2013
    The Law Firm of Stephen M. Reck, LLC
    The Law Firm of Stephen M. Reck, LLC | Scott D. Camassar
    Typically when a minor's case is settled the money has to be put into a special custodial account until the child reaches 18. In CT those accounts are overseen by the probate court. It may work differently in other states, but the purpose of having a special account is so the parent(s) don't spend it. If a lawyer was involved, start by contacting him or her. Otherwise contact the probate court or local bar association for guidance.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 1/24/2013
    Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
    If you were a minor when the settlement was reached and paid, there should have been a conservator appointed to handle the financial aspects of the settlement. You may want to start by reviewing the court documents in the court where the original lawsuit was filed and settled. That should give you some indication of where the settlement proceeds were originally. From there you may be able to determine who was responsible for the settlement proceeds and how they were spent. It will take some work to trace back the proceeds and require a proper accounting. If the funds were misspent, you may have a claim against the person who was responsible and/or the financial institution handling the money,
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/24/2013
    Lombardi Law Firm
    Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
    Yes to the question about the bank and you should check at the county courthouse to see if there was a conservator ship set up. There may have been a bond.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 1/24/2013
    Mike Lewis Attorneys | Mike Lewis
    Technically, you may have a claim against them, although there are only limited situations where a child is allowed to,sue a parent. Practically speaking, however, it may be extremely difficult to win a case and get any recovery from them. You should talk with an attorney and provide details of what happened and she can advise you on whether you have any recourse.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 1/24/2013
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    If the settlement was over 10000 the probate court would have been involved. You can complain to them as they oversee your parents actions in spending your money. You will have a claim against your parents if they breached their fiduciary duty. If they spent the money for your benefit you may have no issue.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 1/24/2013
    Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
    You may be able to sue the bank and your parents to get the money back.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 1/24/2013
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    Well, you're not saying how much it was, and maybe that's because you don't know, but my guess is that it was under $10,000 because if it was over that amount a court approved conservatorship would have been set up, a bond would have been posted, you would have been appointed a lawyer and an accounting would have been required by the court when you turned of age. If it was more than the $10,000, then you might be able to search the court records and get information. Assuming it was not over that amount, as a practical matter, you can simply ask your parents where the money went. You can also ask the bank. They may and/or may not give you the information, depending on their privacy policy. If that doesn't work, you can request a formal accounting through the court system, which means you will have to get a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 1/24/2013
    Law Offices of Henry Repay
    Law Offices of Henry Repay | Henry Repay
    I recommend you first check with the clerk of the local court to determine if a guardianship case was established and, if so, what happened in the case. Generally, recoveries over a certain amount require the opening of a minor's guardianship (the amount is currently $10,000.00, but was probably $5,000.00 in 1994). Next, if the injury claim itself involved a lawsuit, examine that file or contact the attorney involved. You can inquire with the bank, but it is hard to say what they would be willing and able to do. Are you referring to the bank where an account was simply maintained or did the bank have some management authority of the funds? That may make a difference as to what records they have and whether you are entitled. If the above options do not help, then you face a more difficult question. What have your parents ever said about it? Is it possible the funds were used for your benefit for things they would not have typically paid from their own funds? How is your relationship now and will it create more harm than good to get into this? How much was involved? Do they have resources from which you can collect if an attorney finds it worthwhile?
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/24/2013
    Johnson & Johnson Law Firm, PLLC | Richard Johnson
    Special Proceedings Rule 98.16W of the Superior Court requires at least a blocked bank account at a federally insured financial institution of the net proceeds during minority. Was your settlement not approved by the Superior Court of your home county at the time of the settlement? Many times, in smaller settlements, where, for example, the gross settlement is 5K or less, insurers will settle on a parental release, and not require Superior Court approval / not follow SPR 98.16W. Did you parents put the net money in a bank / S&L / credit union for you? If so, there must be some record of that. What do your parents say about this? How old are you now? IF the settlement was not approved by the Superior Court, then the settlement is not binding on you. You would have until your 21st birthday to file suit to stop the running of the limitation of action statute on your injury claim. IF you were to get the insurer for the at ? fault party to pay more money to you now than was paid before ? on a parental release ? the parental release your parents signed probably has indemnity language. If so, your parents would be obligated to reimburse the insurer for the at fault party for any money it pays out to you now, in excess of the earlier parental release settlement amount. Make sense? If not, suggest you consult a tort lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/24/2013
    Marvin Schulman | Marvin Schulman
    It could depend on several factors; such as if it was in trust, or should have been court protected; on how much time has transpired since you have reached your majority; etc..
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/24/2013
    Reade & Associates
    Reade & Associates | R. Christopher Reade
    In Nevada, settlement monies for a minor are held in a Blocked Account and are disbursed with court approval. You should check the Court record first.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 1/24/2013
    Seth Wiener
    Seth Wiener | Seth Wiener
    The money should have been held in trust for you by your parents. The easiest way to get the documents would be to request the documents from your parents. If they refuse to provide them, you can file a lawsuit against your parents, and subpoena the bank records.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2013
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