Florida law allows for the recovery of civil damages on behalf of minor children. Florida law allows for natural guardians, parents, to settle a claim or cause of action for minor children so long as the total amount received does not exceed $15,000.00. See Fla. Stat. 744.301. If the settlement or claim will exceed $15,000.00 a guardianship over minor’s property will be necessary and a settlement will require Court Approval. Fla. Stat. 744.387.
If an action is resolved after litigation (after the filing of a lawsuit) then the Court taking jurisdiction over the matter will approve the settlement. Conversely if the action is resolved prior to litigation the settlement will need to be approved by the Probate Court in the jurisdiction where the action would have been brought. Fla. R. Prob. 5.636
A court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent a minors interest if the claim exceeds $15,000.00 and shall appoint a guardian ad litem if no appointed guardian exists or if the Court otherwise determines the minor’s interests are not being adequately addressed. Fla. Stat. 744.3025.
744.3025 Claims of minors.—
(1)(a) The court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the minor’s interest before approving a settlement of the minor’s portion of the claim in a case in which a minor has a claim for personal injury, property damage, wrongful death, or other cause of action in which the gross settlement of the claim exceeds $15,000 if the court believes a guardian ad litem is necessary to protect the minor’s interest.
(b) Except as provided in paragraph (e), the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the minor’s interest before approving a settlement of the minor’s claim in a case in which the gross settlement involving a minor equals or exceeds $50,000.
(c) The appointment of the guardian ad litem must be without the necessity of bond or notice.
(d) The duty of the guardian ad litem is to protect the minor’s interests as described in the Florida Probate Rules.
(e) A court need not appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor if a guardian of the minor has previously been appointed and that guardian has no potential adverse interest to the minor.
(2) Unless waived, the court shall award reasonable fees and costs to the guardian ad litem to be paid out of the gross proceeds of the settlement.
(3) A settlement of a claim pursuant to this section is subject to the confidentiality provisions of this chapter.
If your involved in a civil dispute involving recovery for a minor, make sure you retain competent counsel to ensure that your potential settlement can be properly approved and analyzed by the relevant Court and that you can get compensation and recovery for your minor as soon as possible.