What is a Friendly Lawsuit?

Child with an injured hand

In Rhode Island, when the plaintiff in a personal injury suit is a minor, and the amount of the settlement is over $10,000, the two parties to the suit must receive court approval before a check can be issued. Because a minor is deemed to not have the capacity to enter into a contract, all contracts entered into by minors are voidable at the child’s election. To make settlement contracts under $10,000 binding on a minor, Rhode Island General Laws 33-15.1(b) provides that:

A release given by both parents or by a parent or guardian who has the legal custody of a minor child or by a guardian or adult spouse of a minor spouse shall, where the amount of the release does not exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) in value, be valid and binding upon the minor.

However, this still leaves the issue of settlements over $10,000 to grapple with.  To enforce these types of settlements, a child (via of a parent) and the opposing party must get court approval before a settlement check can be issued.  The two parties, after they have agreed on a settlement amount will then engage in what is called a “friendly lawsuit.” When this happens, the court will usually appoint a Guardian Ad Litem ( a neutral third party lawyer) to review the case to ensure that the settlement amount and where the money is kept upon disbursement, is in the best interest of the child. After the Guardian Ad Litem has given the OK to the court that the settlement is in the child’s best interest, the court will then make the release of claim binding on the minor-child.  At this point, a settlement check may be issued.

Do You Need Help With A Friendly Lawsuit Due To Your Child Being Hurt?

If your child has been hurt due to the negligence of another, please call Noah Kilroy today. “Friendly Lawsuits” can be tricky to navigate without a lawyer by your side. Call the Kilroy Law Firm for a free consultation and ask about our best-price guarantee. Call or text today at 401-855-9023.