Settlements of Minor's Personal Injury Cases
If a child is seriously injured in a car accident, fall down, dog bite or other case arising out of the negligence of another, a Complaint must be filed in the Superior Court. If someone is injured, they should consult a personal injury attorney immediately. If Kenneth Vercammen's Law office accepts a Personal Injury case, we must complete the investigation. This will involve the collection of information from your physician, your Family, and our investigator. We will need your doctors to provide us with copies of all bills, medical records and a mandatory medical report.
Financial Recovery for minors injured- Kenneth Vercammen Helps Injured persons A person who is injured as a result of the negligence of another person is what we in the legal profession refer to as a personal injury claimant. In other words, they have been injured as a result of an accident, and now wish to prosecute a claim against an opposing party. When we feel that we have sufficient information to form an opinion as to the financial extent of your damages, we will commence negotiations with the opposition for a settlement. If the insurance company will not make an adequate offer, then a Complaint and Case Information Statement is prepared by your attorney. It is filed in the Superior Court, Law Division. Your attorney then will prepare a Summons and have the defendants personally served with the Summons and Complaint. The defendant, through their insurance company, must file an "Answer" within 35 days. Usually, one of the parents is appointed as the Guardian Ad Litem on behalf of the minor child. In our Complaint, we include the following language that has been approved by the court in many of our prior personal injury cases:
GUARDIAN AD LITEM CERTIFICATE
I, __________________________, hereby certify as follows:
1. The plaintiff, **, is an infant of the age of nine years.
2. ** is the Father of the infant plaintiff.
3. ** does not have any interest in this action, contrary to the interest of the said infant plaintiff. 4. The said ** has consented to act as Guardian ad Litem of the said ** in this action.
5. I certify that the foregoing statements made by me are true. I am aware that if any of the foregoing statements made by me are willfully false, I am subject to punishment.
Dated: ____________________________ If the case is settled prior to trial, the Court must hold a "Friendly hearing." Kenneth Vercammen's Legal fee will be reduced from 33% to 25% if he is able to settle the case prior to trial.
The plaintiff's attorney will prepare the following: 1. Order Approving Minor's Settlement 2. Doctor's Certification 3. Release 4. Settlement Statement 5. Child support/ Charles Jones search form 6. Correspondence to Court and defendants' attorneys
The following are the Court Rules requiring a family member to act on behalf of the minor: 4:26-2. Minor or Mentally Incapacitated Person
(a) Representation by Guardian. Except as otherwise provided by law or R. 4:26-3 (virtual representation), a minor or mentally incapacitated person shall be represented in an action by the guardian of either the person or the property, appointed in this State, or if no such guardian has been appointed or a conflict of interest exists between guardian and ward or for other good cause, by a guardian ad litem appointed by the court in accordance with paragraph (b) of this rule. (b) Appointment of Guardian Ad Litem.
(1) Appointment of Parent in Negligence Actions. In negligence actions, unless the court otherwise directs, a parent of a minor or mentally incapacitated person shall be deemed to be appointed guardian ad litem of the child without court order upon the filing of a pleading or certificate signed by an attorney stating the parental relationship, the child's status and, if a minor, the age, the parent's consent to act as guardian ad litem and the absence of a conflict of interest between parent and child.
(2) Appointment on Petition. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem for a minor or an alleged mentally incapacitated person, upon the verified petition of a friend on his or her behalf. In an action in which the fiduciary seeks to have the account settled or has a personal interest in the matter, the petition shall state whether or not the guardian ad litem therein nominated was proposed by the fiduciary or the fiduciary's attorney. Each petition shall be accompanied by the sworn consent of the proposed guardian ad litem, stating his or her relationship to the minor or alleged mentally incapacitated person and certifying that he or she has no interest in the litigation, or if such interest exists, setting forth the nature thereof, and that he or she will with undivided fidelity perform the duties of guardian ad litem, if appointed. The court shall appoint the guardian ad litem so proposed unless it finds good cause for not doing so, in which case it shall afford the petitioner opportunity to file a new petition seeking the appointment of another person within 10 days of the rejection. If such new petition is not filed within such time, or if filed, is not granted, the court, when designating some other person as guardian ad litem, shall state for the record its reasons for rejecting petitioner's nominee. A conflict of interest between the petitioner and the minor or alleged mentally incapacitated person shall be good cause for rejection of the petitioner's nominee. Only one guardian ad litem shall be appointed for all minors or alleged mentally incapacitated persons unless a conflict of interest exists.
(3) Appointment on Party's Motion. On motion by a party to the action, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for a minor or alleged mentally incapacitated person if no petition has been filed and either default has been entered by the clerk or, in a summary action brought pursuant to R. 4:67 or in a probate action, 10 days have elapsed after service of the order. Notice of the motion shall be served at least 10 days before the return date fixed therein upon the appropriate persons designated in R. 4:4-4(a)(1)(2)(3) or (c) either personally, at the time of service of process or thereafter, or by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. The court on ex parte motion may, in lieu thereof, fix such notice of the motion, given to such persons in such manner as it deems appropriate. (4) Appointment on Court's Motion. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem for a minor or alleged mentally incapacitated person on its own motion. 4:44-1. Venue; Filing
Actions brought in the Superior Court on behalf of a minor or mentally incapacitated person, instituted without process, for the purpose of obtaining the court's approval of a settlement shall be brought in any county in which the venue might be laid under R. 4:3-2, and in such actions in the Superior Court, the papers shall, unless the court otherwise orders, be filed with the deputy clerk of the Superior Court in the county of venue before the hearing on the application for approval.
4:44-2. Medical Testimony at the Friendly hearing is required
Medical testimony as to the injuries of a minor or mentally incapacitated person given in proceedings to obtain the approval of a settlement shall be that of the attending or consulting physician and may be submitted by affidavit unless the court, for good cause shown, permits the testimony of other medical experts or in its discretion requires the physician's personal appearance.
The following is a portion of a form Kenneth Vercammen's Law office successfully used in a car accident leg fracture case:
KENNETH A. VERCAMMEN 2053 Woodbridge Ave. Edison, NJ 08817 732-572-0500 Attorney for Plaintiff
_________ , Guardian ad Litem for _________ Plaintiff
_________ Defendants SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY LAW DIVISION: MIDDLESEX COUNTY
DOCKET NO. MID-L-_________ Civil Action ORDER APPROVING MINOR'S SETTLEMENTS
STATE OF NEW JERSEY: SS: COUNTY OF ___________________: I, _________, being duly sworn says: 1. I am a permanent resident of this State and a physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of New Jersey. I am and have been in the actual practice of medicine since __________, which includes my residency training. I graduated from _______________________ and have been licensed in New Jersey for ______ years. 2. I am not a relative either through blood or marriage of the plaintiff. 3. I treated the plaintiff for injuries arising out of an accident on _________ 4. The diagnosis from my records is: _________ 5. The injury has healed well. 6. The plaintiff has been released and is no longer treating. 7. There is no prognosis of permanent injury. 8. A copy of my bill is attached listing the dates I performed services. The bill was submitted to insurance and I have been paid.
I certify that the foregoing statements made by me are true. I am aware that if any of the foregoing statements made by me are willfully false, I am subject to punishment.
____________________________ Sworn and subscribed to before me this day of ,
Letter to Doctor March 11, 2004
Re: Name of injured person/ plaintiff: ___________ Name of defendant: ___________ Date of Accident: M___________ Docket No.: ___________ Friendly hearing Affidavit needed.
Dear ___________ :
Please be advised that I represent ___________ , who was your patient. Pursuant to the Rules of Court, I must obtain the Affidavit of the physician verifying that the minor is finished with treatment.
I hereby request that you execute the enclosed Affidavit. Please sign same and have your signature notarized.
Please further be advised that I am under Court deadline to submit your Affidavit to the court.
Please contact my office to confirm that you will be able to execute the enclosed Affidavit.
Very truly yours,
KENNETH A. VERCAMMEN KAV/ Enclosure:
4:44 3. Friendly Hearing; Order; Expenses All proceedings to enter a judgment to consummate a settlement in matters involving minors and mentally incapacitated persons shall be heard by the court without a jury. The court shall determine whether the settlement is fair and reasonable as to its amount and terms. In the case of a structured settlement providing for deferral of all or part of the proceeds thereof, the court shall also satisfy itself, based on the financial security of the obligor or surety and such other relevant facts as may be adduced, of the reasonable certainty that all future payments will be made as proposed by the settlement. If the court approves the settlement it shall enter an order reciting the action taken and directing the appropriate judgment in accordance with R. 4:48A, whose provisions shall also apply to deferred payments under structured settlements. The court, on the request of the claimant or the claimant's attorney or on its own motion, may approve the expenses incident to the litigation, including attorney's fees. If the fees of the attorney representing the guardian ad litem are to be paid by the defendant, the defendant shall upon the court's request make available to it defendant's complete file in the action.
Form letter to court to schedule friendly:
Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division PO Box 2633 New Brunswick, NJ 08903 ATTN. Civil Assignment Re: ________ Docket No. MID - L ________ Request for Friendly
Dear Civil: I am the attorney for the plaintiff in the above matter. I spoke with _______ on March 4 regarding scheduling a Friendly Hearing. Please schedule a Friendly Hearing for ________ We are settling for the Policy limits, minus the cost of travel and air fair from ________
Very truly yours,
Form of Order submitted to the Court. The Court will make changes to the form of Order:
KENNETH VERCAMMEN & ASSOCIATES, PC 2053 Woodbridge Ave. Edison, NJ 08817 732-572-0500 Attorney for Plaintiff
____________ , Guardian ad Litem for ____________ Plaintiff
____________, Defendants SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY LAW DIVISION: MIDDLESEX COUNTY
DOCKET NO. MID-L-____________ Civil Action ORDER APPROVING MINOR'S SETTLEMENTS
This matter having been presented to Court by Kenneth A. Vercammen, Esq., attorney for the plaintiffs, and _______, Esq. attorney for defendants _____________ and ____________ Esq. for defendant ____________, and the Court having read the medical affidavit of ____________, observed the photos of scars on the infant, and having heard testimony regarding the injury and medical treatment, and having heard testimony of the plaintiff's father, ____________, and the Court being satisfied that the consent judgment is proper and appropriate; It is on this _______ day of _____________________, ORDERED that judgment be entered in favor of ____________, an infant, by his Guardian and Litem, ____________, in the amount of $4,000, against defendant ____________, and further ORDERED that judgment be entered in favor of ____________, an infant, by his Guardian and Litem, ____________, in the amount of $96,000 , against defendant, __________.
Disbursements in the following amounts: SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY- $200
all to be deducted from the infant's portion of the judgment and paid to the Law Office of Kenneth A. Vercammen, Esq., Attorney for Plaintiff, is hereby approved. payment of $__________ shall be delivered to the Law Office of Kenneth A. Vercammen by ___________________ IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the funds shall be deposited with the Middlesex County Surrogate to be held in that account until ____________ turns the age of eighteen (18) or further ordered by this court.
___________________________ , J.S.C If you have a personal injury, call KENNETH A. VERCAMMEN, ESQ. 732-572-0500 for a confidential in-office appointment
About Kenneth Vercammen:
Kenneth Vercammen is a Litigation Attorney in Edison, NJ, approximately 17 miles north of Princeton. He often lectures for the New Jersey State Bar Association on personal injury, criminal / municipal court law and drunk driving. He has published 125 articles in national and New Jersey publications on municipal court and litigation topics. He has served as a Special Acting Prosecutor in seven different cities and towns in New Jersey and also successfully defended hundreds of individuals facing Municipal Court and Criminal Court charges. In his private practice, he has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He has appeared in Courts throughout New Jersey several times each week on many personal injury matters, Municipal Court trials, arbitrations and contested administrative law hearings. Since 1985, his primary concentration has been on litigation matters. Mr. Vercammen gained other legal experiences as the Confidential Law Clerk to the Court of Appeals of Maryland (Supreme Court), with the Delaware County, PA District Attorney Office handling Probable Cause Hearings, Middlesex County Probation Dept as a Probation Officer, and an Executive Assistant to Scranton District Magistrate Thomas Hart in Scranton, PA.
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Since 1985, KENNETH VERCAMMEN has worked as a personal injury attorney, working for injury victims and their families. By taking a hard-hitting, aggressive approach toward the insurance companies, KENNETH VERCAMMEN and our co-counsel have consistently obtained outstanding results for many injured clients over the years I am proud to have worked on cases in various capacities, small and large. While obviously prior results cannot guarantee the outcome of future cases, I can guarantee that you case will receive the same degree of dedication and hard work that went into each of these prior cases.
In direct contrast to the hard-hitting approach we take toward the insurance companies is the “soft” approach we take toward our clients. I am proud of my compassionate staff as I am of the outstanding financial results they have achieved. For many years, I have watched them treat our clients with patience, dignity and respect. I would have it no other way.
Many years ago, I attended a seminar sponsored by the American Bar Association on Law Practice Management. This was to help insure that each of our clients is always treated like a person -- not a file! We recognize that you are innocent victims and that you have placed your trust in us. Please understand that we understand what you are going through. Feel comforted that we are here to help you.
If you retain KENNETH VERCAMMEN to represent you, we will give you the same advice we give each of our clients -- concentrate on your life, you family and your health. We will take care of everything else. Leave all of the work and worry about your legal rights to us. Trust us. Believe in us. Have faith in us as your attorneys. Understand that we will always to do what we believe is best for you and your case. Helping you is our job. In fact, it is our only job -- guiding injury victims like you through one of the most difficult times of your lives, with care and concern -- while fighting aggressively to the limits of the law to obtain compensation and justice for each of you!
Print our Personal Injury Questionnaire on our Website, Fill it out and Fax back, so we can determine if we can help you obtain an injury settlement. We would welcome an opportunity to prove to you what we have proven to thousands of injured clients -- that you can feel comfortable and secure in the fact that KENNETH VERCAMMEN - Trial Attorney We Fight To Win.
When you have been injured in an accident or collision, you are worried about who is going to pay your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. The last thing you want is to be taken advantage of by an insurance company. If you don’t protect your rights, you may not be able to make a claim.
Insurance companies have attorneys and adjusters whose goal is to pay you as little as they can. You need a New Jersey personal injury lawyer to fight for you. I am dedicated to helping your recover as much money as possible under the law.
You need an attorney who will work hard to protect your rights, maximize your insurance settlement and minimize the hassles of dealing with the insurance companies. You need an experienced and aggressive New Jersey trial lawyer with PROVEN RESULTS who will fight for you. Having an experienced Oregon personal injury lawyer can make the difference between getting what you deserve and getting nothing.
Without the threat of a lawyer who is willing to go to trial and seek a big jury verdict, why would an insurance company pay you what your claim is really worth? Lawsuits can be expensive, and many people do not have the money to pursue their claim. In every case, I advance all costs associated with pursuing your case and I do not ask you for a penny until we recover from the other side.
I am an experienced aggressive trial lawyer and a 3rd degree Black Belt. I am not afraid to take your case to trial if that is what it takes to maximize the amount of money your recover for your personal injury. I offer one-on-one service, and I will not hand your case off to an inexperienced lawyer or a paralegal.
Reduce the stress of making a claim.
Personal injury accidents can turn your life upside down. Making a personal injury claim can be difficult and time consuming. Once I take your case, you can stop worrying about dealing with the insurance companies and focus on recovering from your injuries. I take care of all of the paperwork, phone calls, and negotiations, so you can get on with your life.
p.s. For those clients who are afraid or reluctant to go to Court, KENNETH VERCAMMEN also offers a special -- “For Settlement Only” -- program. This means that if we are unable to settle with the insurance company, we will not go any further -- unless you want us to. You have my personal assurance that there will be absolutely no pressure and no obligation.
We handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis.
YOU DON’T OWE ME A LEGAL FEE UNLESS I RECOVER MONEY FOR YOU.
Call our office to schedule a "confidential" appointment 732-572-0500
Kenneth A. Vercammen is the Managing Attorney at Kenneth Vercammen & Associates in Edison, NJ. He is a New Jersey trial attorney has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He has appears in Courts throughout New Jersey each week on personal injury matters, Criminal /Municipal Court trials, and contested Probate hearings.
Mr. Vercammen has published over 125 legal articles in national and New Jersey publications on criminal, elder law, probate and litigation topics. He is a highly regarded lecturer on litigation issues for the American Bar Association, NJ ICLE, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association. His articles have been published in noted publications included New Jersey Law Journal, ABA Law Practice Management Magazine, and New Jersey Lawyer. He is the Editor in Chief of the American Bar Association Tort and Insurance Committee Newsletter.
Admitted In NJ, NY, PA, US Supreme Court and Federal District Court.
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