The Ohio Supreme Court issued a ruling regarding the assignment of possible proceeds from a personal injury case prior to the case being filed. The case is W. Broad Chiropractic v. Am. Family Ins., 119 Ohio St.3d 1469, 2008-Ohio-4911, 894 N.E.2d 330.
The facts were that Kristy Norregard, who was injured in an automobile accident but who did not file suit or obtain a judgment against the tortfeasor, assigned her right to proceeds from a prospective settlement or judgment to West Broad Chiropractic (West Broad), in exchange for medical care she received from West Broad for injuries resulting from the accident.
The Ohio Supreme Court accepted two certified questions for review:
- "May a person who has been injured in an automobile accident but who has not yet established liability for the accident and a present right to settlement proceeds, but who may have that right in the future, even if the future existence of the proceeds is conditional, assign that right, in whole or in part, to another under Ohio law?"
This question was answered in the negative.
"A person who has been injured in an accident but who has not yet established liability for the accident and a present right to settlement proceeds may not assign the right to future proceeds of a settlement if the right does not exist at the time of the assignment."
- "Does R.C. 3929.06 preclude an assignee of prospective settlement proceeds from bringing a direct action against a third party insurer, who had prior notice of such written assignment, after the insurer distributed settlement proceeds in disregard of that written assignment?"
" R.C. 3929.06 precludes an assignee of prospective settlement proceeds from bringing a direct action against a third-party insurer after the insurer distributed settlement proceeds."