When Minors are Involved in Accidents

Let’s talk about a situation where someone under 18 is injured in an accident.  They are considered a minor.  Those cases are handled a little bit differently when it comes to settlement.  InOhio, someone under 18 can’t enter into a contract.  You can’t really own any property, aren’t really entitled to the same legal rights necessarily that an adult is.  Their parents or guardian have to handle the personal injury case for them.

So let’s take this scenario.  Let’s say that my minor child 16-year old is driving his car when he is hit from behind by an af fault driver.  My son sustains injuries, gets medical treatment and we eventually settle his case.  What do we do with that case?  In order to receive the settlement we have to sign a document called a release.  The release basically says that the other driver and their insurance company will no longer be liable or responsible for any damages after they pay us the settlement amount.

But here is the problem, the minor is only 16.  He can’t legally sign that document so what do you do?  Well probably a Court is one that handles the situation.  We go down to Probate Court and we file an application to settle a minor’s claim.  Probate Court gives us a hearing date and we will go in with the minor and their parents.  A lot of prepared, the insurance company will normally send an attorney along as well and the magistrate or the judge will agree to the settlement.

Then what do you do with the money?  Well the majority of the times you have to take that money and deposit it into a protected account an account that no funds can be taken form until the minor turns 18.  Once the minor turns 18 they go to the bank with their driver’s license.  They approve their age and then they can recover their funds.  So remember if you have got someone under the age of 18 who has been injured in an accident doesn’t mean they are going to be able to recover their money right away.

They may very well have to wait until they turn 18 in order to receive their settlement money.  This also in a wrongful death situation for example if there are minors who are heirs of the decedent.  What would happen is in even to of a settlement; any money going to that minor would be put in to an account until they reach a certain age.  A lot of Probate Courts will not give the money to the minor in those situations when turn 18.  Sometimes it may go to 21 or even 25.

You need to have an attorney that knows how to handle these cases.  Work the insurance companies.  Work with the Probate Court.  If you have a case similar to this feel free to give us a call, we will more than happy to sit down with you, discuss your case and see if we can help you.  Thank you.

If you have been involved in an accident, call the Flickinger Legal Group today at (614) 944-5055 for your free consultation. With over 30 years of legal experience, Russ is well experienced and ready to handle your case!

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