Has your child been injured in an automobile accident, struck by an automobile, hurt in a dog bite incident, or suffered other personal injury? Do you have questions about medical bills, insurance, damages claims, or whether any time limitations could affect the claim? Were you injured as a child and have similar questions now? The attorneys at Berger & Green are here to answer your questions.
Medical Bills and other related costs
Initially, you should know that when a minor child is injured, whether in an automobile accident, slip and fall accident, dog bite incident or otherwise, the costs incurred for any relevant healthcare are the responsibility of the parents or guardians and billable to the applicable policies of health insurance. In most instances, expenses (co-pays, prescriptions, medical equipment . . .) incurred by parents or guardians in connection with the healthcare of the minor child are recoverable by the parents or guardians. If the parents / guardians fail to seek recovery of these expenses within the statutory limitations period, the minor may be required to seek recovery of these expenses as part of the minor child’s claim.
Time Limitations for Making a Claim
When a minor child is injured, there are certain time limitations imposed by the law upon the minor child’s claim. These “statutes of limitation” require that a claim be resolved or a lawsuit filed within a certain period of time. In Pennsylvania, the applicable statute of limitations is two (2) years from the date of the incident for the parents’ claims for medical expenses. The statute of limitations on the minor child’s claim is tolled until their 20th birthday.
Resolution of a minor’s claim
Upon the resolution of a minor child’s claim, the terms of the settlement must be approved by the Court in the county in which the minor child resides. A petition for approval of the minor’s claim is filed and presented. This petition recites all relevant information concerning the injuries, including the circumstances of the incident, the parties involved, the retention of the minor’s lawyer, the terms of representation, the sources of recovery, the medical care rendered and its costs, the prognosis of the minor, the lawyer’s proposed fees, and the net settlement amount to the minor child. The Court evaluates the terms of the petition and proposed settlement to determine if the best interests of the minor child are served. Generally, the net proceeds of the minor child’s claim must be deposited into a federally insured account, in the minor child’s name, that restricts access until the minor child reaches majority, 18 years of age. The Court may, upon cause shown, permit access to the funds prior to the minor child reaching majority.