Rules of Practice - 5th Judicial Circuit of Illinois


Rule X.

Settlement of Minor's  or Ward's Personal Injury Claim, Wrongful Death Claim,  or Claim Under the Survival Statute

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A. Contents of Petition
To settle a cause of action for personal injuries sustained by a minor, or ward, or any other action in which a minor or ward will receive any or all of the settlement proceeds, a verified petition shall be filed  executed by the legal representative of the minor, ward, or the decedent's estate, and shall recite:
1. A description of the occurrence giving rise to the cause of action.
2. The name and address of the person or entity against whom the cause of action has accrued.
3. The name and address of the liability insurance carrier, if any, affording coverage to the person or entity against whom the cause of action has accrued, and the monetary limits of the liability insurance policy issued by said insurance carrier in effect at the time of the occurrence.
4. A brief description of the injuries sustained by the minor and a list of hospital and medical expenses incurred on behalf of said minor as a result of the occurrence, and a current medical report or letter executed by the attending physician stating the nature and extent of the injuries sustained and giving the prognosis.
5. The terms of any settlement offer and a statement by the attorney for the petitioner of his or her opinion as the fairness of the proposed settlement and a recommendation as to whether the offer should be approved.

B. Appointment of Guardian Ad Litem
In cases where no independent attorney has been employed by the legal representative of the minor or ward, the court may appoint an attorney as guardian ad litem to investigate the merits of the proposed settlement and to report his or her findings and recommendations before approval of the proposed settlement. In the event the appointed guardian ad litem does not recommend the approval of the proposed settlement, the appointed guardian ad litem shall not represent as a private attorney the legal representative or any of the parties having an interest in the case, but may continue as such guardian ad litem with reference to any revised offer of settlement so long as the legal representative has not employed independent counsel for the case. The court shall fix an appropriate fee for the guardian ad litem to be taxed as costs to the case.

C. Attorney's Fees
In minor's personal injury cases, an allowance for attorneys'  fees shall not exceed 25% of the gross settlement amount unless the attorney representing the minor in a sworn petition recites the work and hours involved or other special circumstances which would justify a higher attorney's fee to compensate the attorney fairly for the work performed, in which case the court may fix the fee in excess of the 25% limitation.

D. Order Approving Settlement
The order entered approving settlement shall provide for the distribution of the settlement funds and the filing of vouchers signed by the recipients of any portion of the settlement proceeds within the time prescribed by the court. The receipts or vouchers shall account for the total sum approved and obtained in settlement.

E. Vouchers
The court shall continue the case to a specific date for the purpose of having a voucher from the financial institution filed. The voucher from the depository shall acknowledge receipt of the funds and a copy of the order of the court approving settlement, and shall include the express language that: "No withdrawals shall be made from this account, unless authorized by order of the court, at any time prior to (date upon which the minor will reach the age of majority)." 

F. Deposit and Investment of Funds
Any settlement funds that are to be received by a legal representative on behalf of a minor shall be required by court order to be deposited or invested for the benefit of the minor in accordance with the provisions of 755 ILCS 5/24.21. These funds shall not be withdrawn or used without approval by court order.

G. Annuity Payments to Minor's Estate
Where annuity payments or income are payable prior to the beneficiary reaching majority age, the order approving settlement shall provide that such payments be payable only to the estate of the minor; that they may not be expended, transferred or withdrawn from the estate without leave of the court; and the order shall require the filing of proof of payment of such periodic or partial distributions by the guardian of the minor.