Ad Litem

What is an Ad Litem?

Ad litem literally translates to “for the suit” in Latin. It is employed in cases where the court selects another party to file a lawsuit or provide assistance in defending oneself. The party is typically identified because they are a minor or an incapable adult.

This phrase is most frequently used in cases involving children in family law. These are commonly known as “guardians ad litem.” However, this phrase will also be used in personal injury claims involving minors or adults who are incapable of making decisions on their own under the law. It might occasionally be employed when the court needs to appoint someone to represent a decedent’s estate as well.

What Situations Call For the Use of "Ad Litem" in Personal Injury Cases?

The most frequent reason for appointing an ad litem is when a kid has been hurt in an accident. The child’s guardian or parents will have their own lawsuit to deal with losses, such as: 

  • Medical costs (past, current, and future)
  • Wages lost as a result of caring for the child
  • Mental sorrow due to their child’s injury

The child then gets their own case that explains how the accident affected them personally. Losses for the child could consist of the following:

  • Distress and suffering
  • Mental suffering and anxiety
  • Prospective loss of earning potential 
  • Lost income (not common, but it has happened in cases that involve teens)
  • Any future medical costs that the child may have to address

There are actually two independent legal claims because the damages for the child differ from those for the parent. However, because these claims involve so many of the same details, they are frequently included in the same lawsuit.

Minor children frequently have a third party appointed to make legal and contractual decisions for them since they lack the capacity to do so themselves. 

The majority of the time, ad litems are present when the parties have settled. To ascertain whether the arrangement is in the child’s best interests, the ad litem will be consulted. Ad litem is typically a lawyer who is unrelated to the personal injury lawsuit. The attorney will examine the facts of the case and the settlement before advising the court whether or not to approve the agreement.

The majority of the time, this procedure is really a formality, and the ad litem will suggest that the court approve the settlement. This is so that a settlement may adequately meet a child’s needs, which is in both the interests of the parents and the guardian ad litem. Rarely do parents want a result that is actually not in the best interests of their own child (although, unfortunately, it does happen).

Additionally, because the ad litem is concerned with ensuring that a kid receives all of the compensation they are entitled to, they could participate more actively in both the settlement and the trial. So, in the end, the guardian ad litem acts as a kind of “check and balance.” Although it’s frequently superfluous, the ad litem’s work ensures a more fair outcome in situations where it really matters.

The guardian ad litem may also assist parents or guardians in deciding how to divide settlement funds or monetary damages. Both parents and underage children are prohibited from receiving money sent to them directly. Parents may need to establish a trust or annuity instead, which the child can use as needed or whenever they turn 18 instead. As the trust’s administrator, the parents or guardians are frequently chosen, and they are required to report to the court on a regular basis how the money is being utilized.

If your child was involved in an accident, we can help you. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. 

Ready to Talk to a Lawyer Who Has Your Back?

Contact The Brown Firm

Get the Answers and Compensation You Deserve

You’ll notice the difference when you contact The Brown Firm! Our local dedicated attorneys want to help you recover and rebuild.

Schedule your free consultation by calling (800) 529-1441 or completing our simple online form.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

If you or a loved one were injured and need help, our skilled personal injury lawyers will be at your side every step of the way.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.