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When a person under the age of 19 suffers an injury, and wishes to bring an injury claim, the matter is complicated because of the involvement of the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee. The infant cannot simply enter into a settlement with ICBC, and then receive the settlement funds. The infant must be represented by a parent or guardian when dealing with a plaintiff ICBC injury lawyer. Further, the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee must approve any settlement amount, and any settlement funds have to be held by the Public Guardian and Trustee until the infant reaches 19 years of age.
Where the award for pain and suffering is less than $50,000, the procedures to get approval from the Office of the Pubic Guardian and Trustee are much simpler than if the award is more than $50,000. In the latter case, the matter must be heard in Court. The Court will usually approve the settlement amount, so long as the Public Guardian and Trustee does as well. If the Public Guardian and Trustee does not approve of the settlement, however, then there would be a contested application in Court.
Something to consider is that when the infant is close to the age of majority, it can sometimes be wise to wait until the infant turns 19, so as to avoid the involvement of the Public Guardian and Trustee. This can help avoid their lack of consent to an agreement, as well as their fees and administration charges in the event that they do consent to the settlement. However, sometimes ICBC’S lawyer will issue a document called a Notice to Proceed, which has the effect of forcing you to proceed, rather than waiting until the infant turns 19. The normal limitation period for an infant is two years from the point they turn 19, however the Notice of Proceed shortens this period to two years from the date the Notice to Proceed is received.
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Please contact Veale Law for a free consultation if you are under 19 years of age, or you are the parent or guardian of someone under the age of 19, who has been injured in a motor vehicle accident.