The Listed Guardian on a Minor Child's Settlement Check Can Cash It

If I am the parent guardian listed on my minor child’s personal injury settlement check, can I cash it? Anonymous, Maryland, USA

If you are the parent guardian listed on your child’s personal injury settlement check, you may cash the check. Make sure that the check is not issued as co-payable to you and your child (or there may be an issue). The actual check wording should state “Your Name as parent or legal guardian of Child’s Name, a minor”. That means that the check is for your child’s injury claim, but the money is yours. It would be nice if any money left over after paying the child's medical expenses went into a savings or college account for the child, but in actuality that probably doesn’t always happen.

The reason the check is worded this way is that a child cannot make the legal decision to settle and waive his or her right to pursue a personal injury claim in the future (after the age of 18). The system allows the responsible parent to have a way to pay the child's accident-related medical expenses by accepting money on the child's behalf.

If the child were to decide to reopen the personal injury claim after he or she reaches the age of adulthood (18 in the US), then the money already paid will be an offset against any new settlement agreement. This is assuming that the claim would really be worth any more than it had already been settled for; it could be worth more, the same, or even less in the future.

The exception would be a court-approved minor’s settlement. This type of settlement is often seen when the minor child’s personal injury claim is worth more than a nominal amount. The insurance company and the child’s representative will go before a Judge in the appropriate Court for approval of the amount of the settlement, which is then made legally binding. This is done for the insurance company’s protection as well as the minor child’s.

This article is approved for informational purposes and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel.

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