New Hampshire has adopted a law dealing with the settlement of a minor’s personal injury case. See RSA 464-A:2. That law provides that no settlement, having a net award exceeding $10,000, of any suit or claim brought on behalf of a minor by a parent or next friend is valid unless approved by the appropriate superior or district court in which the action is pending
or to which a writ may be made returnable.
RSA 464-A:2 requires proof in the form of a certified statement from the probate court that the guardian ad litem, parent, next friend, or other person who receives money on behalf of the minor whether through settlement, judgment, decree or other order, has been appointed guardian of the estate of such minor and is subject to the duties prescribed under RSA 463:19.
Clearly, the New Hampshire legislature wants to preserve this money for the minor so the money is there when they become of age.
For good cause shown, the superior or district court may approve a minor’s settlement which provides for the payment of settlement proceeds after the minor attains the age of majority.
In any such settlement, where no amount inures to the minor prior to the age of majority, no guardian of the estate of such minor is required. However, in the event of a structured settlement, where payments will be made during and after a minor’s minority, then a guardian of the estate
of such minor is required. The superior court has adopted Rule 111. This rule provides additional guidance as
to how to handle these situations.
1. You have to petition the court for approval of the settlement; otherwise, the
settlement is invalid.
2. You have to provide information about the minor and about the accident leading
up to the minor’s injuries. You have to described the minor’s injuries with
3. You need to provide an itemized statement of all medical expenses and special
damages the minor suffered.
4. You need to provide the details of the settlement.
5. You need to tell the court what money is to be deducted from the gross amount
(liens, attorney’s fees, guardian fees, etc.).
6. You need to inform the court who negotiated the settlement
7. You need to provide information about the availability of medical payment
8. You need to provide a photocopy of the minor’s birth certificate.
9. You need to furnish an itemized statement from counsel detailing the nature of the
work performed and the time spent on the case. Attorneys can charge a
contingent fee but it is limited to 25% of the settlement amount.
10. You need to attach a full medical report, including a recent and detailed prognosis
11. You need to furnish the court with a proposed order. That proposed order is for
the convenience of the court.
Adults are not the only people who get hurt in accidents. Minors get hurt as well. Clearly, one can understand why there are “special rules” to protect minors.
If there weren’t special rules, a parent or guardian could take and spend all of the minor’s settlement money and there wouldn’t be any money left for the minor when he/she got to the age of majority.