Probate for Personal Injury Settlements of Minors in Ohio
If a minor is injured in Ohio, a probate court is going to have to approve any settlement from the personal injury case. It will not be enough to simply negotiate for compensation. Once the terms have been agreed to, a probate court will need to approve the settlement before the injury case is fully resolved. This process involves a variety of steps and procedural requirements. As with most aspects of personal injury cases, you should consult with an Ohio injury lawyer before attempting to settle a case on behalf of an injured minor. That being said, we wanted to outline the general procedures that can be expected in the most common case. Bear in mind that every injury case is different and the unique circumstances of your case may not be covered here as this guide is not comprehensive. Let’s get right into it.
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Why Does A Minor Need Approval for An Injury Settlement in Ohio?
Our personal injury clients often face the problem of needing a probate court in Ohio to approve a minor’s legal settlement. The issues at hand reflect a legal reality facing the parents of minors. A minor in the State of Ohio does not have legal capacity to enter into a valid contract such as a lawsuit settlement agreement. If a minor is injured due to the negligence or other liability imposed upon a third party and that third party agrees to enter into a settlement agreement for the claims, the minor cannot enter into this agreement since they do not have legal capacity to sign a binding and valid contract. Instead, the court systems and Ohio law created a procedure by which the minor’s legal interests can be protected and the court can facilitate the execution of a valid and binding legal settlement for the personal injury case.
Applying for Settlement Approval for a Minor’s Injury Case
The process of applying for settlement approval for your minor in probate court is going to be based on local court rules. Every locality in Ohio is slightly different so it is important for you to call an injury lawyer knowledgeable about the local probate court. Depending on the amount of the settlement, either a guardian of the estate or a parent/custodian will typically need to file an application in the probate court to approve the settlement. Once the application is filed, it should be assigned to a magistrate in the probate court and set for a hearing. The application is typically going to require a couple of things. For example, things like a copy of the minor’s birth certificate and a narration covering the facts leading to the injury. Exactly what is required should be set out in some type of local court rule or regulation. Lastly, the application will usually require some type of medical testimony or statement regarding the injuries. There will also be a fee required at the time of filing which is going to be set by the local probate court involved. In most cases, personal checks will not be accepted for this fee and payment methods are usually specified as to what is accepted.
Ohio Statutes on Settling Personal Injury Cases of Minors
There are two main statutes governing this type of personal injury case. The first, ORC 2111.05, and the second is ORC 2111.08. There are also Rule 67 and Rule 68 of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio. Local courts may add additional rules or requirements to suit their probate courts efficient operations so it is important to consider any additional requirements posed by local court rules. Typically, understanding the overall State law and Rules of Superintendence will generally be applicable in almost any local court following those procedures.
About the Authors: Sawan & Sawan is a multi-generational, family owned law firm practicing law in the areas of car accidents, truck accidents, and other personal injuries. Our firm practices law in Ohio (Toledo, Columbus), Georgia, and Michigan.
Dennis P. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Georgia
Christopher A. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Michigan