The Guardian Ad Litem
As long as a guardian or conservator has not previously been appointed for the minor child, the most common way to have a California court approve a minor’s monetary settlement from an injury is to appoint the child’s mother or father as the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL). Even if a guardian or conservator has previously been appointed to the minor child, a court can still appoint a Guardian Ad Litem if it deems it expedient to do so; to get the settlement for the child’s injuries moving along. Remember, the Guardian Ad Litem is not a party to the action per se, but rather the “representative of record of the party (minor child)” who lacks legal capacity to represent himself or herself since he or she is under age.
Parents must have a lawyer prepare the paperwork and represent the injured minor child through this court approval process. This means a parent, or Guardian Ad Litem, who is not an attorney, cannot act in pro per (without a lawyer) when representing the child’s interest in a monetary settlement before the courts. Doing so would constitute the unlawful practice of law. The only narrow exception to this rule, is if the injury attorney has been removed or relieved as counsel of record, then the Guardian Ad Litem can dismiss the minor’s child’s petition or lawsuit without prejudice (a rare circumstance). However, any injury attorney that handles minor children injuries is fully capable of preparing the necessary legal paperwork, and handling the court approval process with a nominated and approved Guardian Ad Litem.
Mark C. Blane is a San Diego Child Injury/Accident Attorney and the managing lawyer of the Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, a San Diego, California Personal Injury Law Office dedicated to representing families of minor children injured due to the negligence of others. If you or a loved one, who is a minor child, has been injured or killed in a child accident in San Diego, please order your free copy of Mr. Blane's book, The 10 Secrets You Need To Know About Your Injury Case, BEFORE You Call A Lawyer. It is full of helpful information that will help you protect your legal rights and it normally sells for $16.95. However, it is free to all California residents, or those injured in a California accident.