By Stephanie F. Brown, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
When a lawsuit is filed on behalf of a minor child in Georgia, any settlement of the lawsuit may require the approval of the Probate Court where the child resides. Georgia Code Section 29-3-3 controls the settlement of a minor’s claim. Under this statute, if the gross settlement is for less than $15,000.00, the child’s natural guardian may enter into the settlement without being appointed the child’s legal conservator and without Probate Court approval of the settlement.
When a proposed gross settlement is less than $15,000.00 after attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation are deducted, the natural guardian does not need to be appointed as legal conservator but does need to obtain Probate Court approval of the settlement.
In cases where the proposed gross settlement amount is more than $15,000.00, after attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation are deducted, the natural guardian must file a petition with the Probate Court to be appointed as legal conservator and must obtain approval of the settlement from the appropriate court. Determining the appropriate court for obtaining approval depends upon whether the claim is in suit or is being settled prior to filing a lawsuit. If there is no suit pending, the legal conservator must obtain Probate Court approval of the settlement. If there is a lawsuit pending, the legal conservator must obtain the approval of the trial court where the lawsuit was filed.