In California, there are more than 300,000 reports of child abuse and neglect each year. If you are a parent, guardian or concerned family friend of one of those children in California, you are probably trying to figure out how to help protect that child and enforce their legal rights. One way to enforce legal rights of an abused child in California is to file a California child abuse lawsuit for money damages and get a settlement for the abused child's emotional distress, physical pain, suffering, future medical and housing needs and transportation costs. When a California lawsuit is won, or settled, however, it is important to know how to make sure the settlement is done legally and it is enforceable - and that the child's money is protected.
Here are several things to know:
1) An adult needs to request that the California child abuse lawsuit or claim be settled. The child cannot do it on his or her own - even if they want to do this on their own. A guardian will be appointed for purposes of approving the settlement, pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure 372.
2) Settlement is typically approved by filing the form called "Petition to Approve Compromise of Claim" - and it is California Judicial Form MC-350.
3) The petition needs to be filed in the superior court of the California County where the child resides or where the lawsuit was, or properly could be, filed against the persons who committed or failde to prevent the child abuse. California Probate Code 3500(b)
4) The adult and the minor need to be present at the hearing in order to approve the settlement, unless the court excuses the presence of the minor. California Rule of Court 7.952(a)
5) The money will be protected for the minor by the court which approves the settlement, so that the money is available for his or her benefit or use as they become older. The money will usually either be ordered ot be in a blocked account of an insured bank, or placed in a trust or into an annuity/structured settlement. California Probate Code 3600