A settlement involving a minor or disabled adult can be particularly stressful for a family who wants a quick resolution once an agreement is reached. With the courts still overloaded, it can take months for the compromise hearing to take place, adding delays for both the client and the attorney.
Many attorneys are missing out on an industry secret – the EXPEDITED Compromise Petition. This tool is available in more cases than you may think.
Pursuant to Rule of Court 7.950.5, you can file an expedited compromise petition in most personal injury cases where no trust is involved and there are no outstanding liens so long as the amount payable to the minor or disabled adult is $50,000 or below or it is the policy limits of the defendant/defendants.
What Does the Code Specify?
Rule 7.950.5 of the California Rules of Court states, in part:
(a) Authorized use of expedited petition
Notwithstanding the provisions of rule 7.950, a petitioner for court approval of a compromise of or a covenant not to sue or enforce judgment on a minor’s disputed claim; a compromise or settlement of a pending action or proceeding to which a minor or person with a disability is a party; or disposition of the proceeds of a judgment for a minor or person with a disability under chapter 4 of part 8 of division 4 of the Probate Code (commencing with section 3600) or Code of Civil Procedure section 372 may, in the following circumstances, satisfy the information requirements of that rule by fully completing the Expedited Petition to Approve Compromise of Disputed Claim or Pending Action or Disposition of Proceeds of Judgment for Minor or Person With a Disability (form MC-350EX):
(8)The judgment for the minor or disabled claimant (exclusive of interest and costs) or the total amount payable to the minor or disabled claimant and all other parties under the proposed compromise or settlement is $50,000 or less or, if greater:
(A)The total amount payable to the minor or disabled claimant represents payment of the individual-person policy limits of all liability insurance policies covering all proposed contributing parties; and
(B)All proposed contributing parties would be substantially unable to discharge an adverse judgment on the minor’s or disabled person’s claim from assets other than the proceeds of their liability insurance policies.
What Are The Benefits?
No Hearing Required!
The time and money spent attending a hearing—especially if the attorney and/or the plaintiff do not live where the case is venued—can often be considerable and can take more funds away from the claimant’s settlement award.
As the Rule details, the expedited compromise petition is generally approved without the need for a hearing unless a hearing is requested by the petitioner, an interested party files an objection or other opposition to the petition, or the court finds it necessary to schedule a hearing.
Approved Within 35 Days!
The expedited petition must be determined by the court no more than 35 days after it is filed unless a hearing is requested or determined necessary by the court.
The shortened time frame is a huge benefit to you and your client, who will be able to receive their settlement funds much sooner. It also allows your client to obtain more favorable structured settlement annuity rates since a shorter funding date is assumed. That puts more money in your client’s pocket (and makes you look great!)
Expedite Your Compromise Petitions and Start Saving Yourself and Your Client Money and Time
To have the best chance of expediting a minor’s or disabled adult’s claim, make sure that you: