Any attorney that has handled a case with someone under the age of 18 knows that a friendly suit needs to be filed – even to approve a settlement (if it exceeds $1,000). The statute that applies is 12 O.S. § 83.
Filing a Friendly Suit in Oklahoma
For those interested, here’s the actual statute, 12 O.S. § 83:
A. Monies recovered in any court proceeding by a next friend or guardian ad litem for or on behalf of a person who is less than eighteen (18) years of age in excess of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) over sums sufficient for paying costs and expenses including medical bills and attorney’s fees shall be deposited, by order of the court, in one or more federally insured banking, credit union or savings and loan institutions, or invested by a bank or trust company having trust powers under federal or state law, approved by the court; provided, that the court may approve a structured settlement, by the terms of which the proceeds of a settlement may be invested by the plaintiff or the defendant in an annuity to be paid to or for the benefit of the minor by an insurance company licensed in this state.
B. Until the person becomes eighteen (18) years of age, withdrawals of monies from the account or accounts shall be solely pursuant to order of the court made in the case in which recovery was had.
C. When an application for the order is made by a person who is not represented by an attorney, the judge of the court shall prepare the order.
D. This section shall not apply if a legal guardian has been appointed for the minor prior to any award of monies pursuant to subsection A of this section. If a legal guardian is appointed after any award of monies pursuant to subsection A of this section, the legal guardian may petition the district court in the county where the federally insured funds are held for an order directing the bank, credit union or savings and loan to transfer the funds to the legal guardian. The district court may make the granting of the request to transfer funds subject to reasonable safeguards.
Lawsuit Questions for Child Under The Age of 18
- Please state your name for the record.
- Mr/Ms .X, did you bring suit against Defendants individually and as parent and next friend of MINOR, for personal injuries occurring on or about the (Date) , as set forth in Plaintiff’s Petition filed today docket no. ………, District Court of Oklahoma County, State of Oklahoma.
- Would you state for the record your relationship to MINOR?
- Are you the custodial parent of MINOR?
- What is MINOR birthday; how old is s/he today?
- Would you please briefly describe the incident that resulted in this litigation?
- Sir, are you represented by an attorney in this matter? You have had an opportunity to seek legal counsel is that correct sir? And you have decided not to seek legal counsel in this lawsuit is that correct?
- Please briefly describe what injuries MINOR suffer any injuries due to the incident?
- Were there any other injuries that you’re aware of?
- Is MINOR continuing to have any medical problems as the result of this incident?
- We are here today to settle MINOR case against the Defendants, correct? And is it your understanding of the settlement terms that the Defendant and his insurer will pay $$$$$$ to you individually and as parent and next friend of MINOR, correct?
- You understand that the $$$$$ is all the money which the Defendants and their insurer will pay you and MINOR as a result of the incident, correct?
- Have you determined where you are to put the money which will not be paid out to cover expenses resulting from the incident? (Is that a federally insured banking, credit union, savings and loan institution, or trust department of a banking institution?)
- Are you voluntarily entering into this settlement agreement today? Are you aware of the existence of any fraud, compulsion, duress, or undue influence which is causing you to accept this settlement?
- Do you believe it is in the best interest of _____ to settle this case in accordance with the terms we’ve just outlined?
- Do you understand that by not settling this case you would be entitled to a jury trial of the Defendants case?
- And do you understand that a jury could award you more money, less money or no money at all as a result of a trial regarding the incident and MINOR’s injuries?
- Do you also understand that by settling this case you are giving up that right to a jury trial?
- Do you understand that by accepting this settlement today any existing injury to MINOR and any injury which may arise or develop in the future would not be compensable or recoverable from either the Defendants or their insurer sir?
- Based on all that we’ve set forth in the record today before the Court, do you still want the Judge to approve this settlement?