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Ad Litem

Definition - What does Ad Litem mean?

The term ad litem literally means "for the purpose of legal action." In the United States under personal injury law the term generally refers to a legal guardian or guardian ad litem who is appointed by the court to advise the court and look after the best interests of a child who is involved in a personal injury lawsuit.

In most counties the Guardian Ad Litem is usually agreed upon by all parties for the lawsuit and is preferably a lawyer with a personal injury background. The duties of the Guardian Ad Litem can vary but may include investigating the personal injury claim, including the child's medical records, medical expenses, and police report. They can also review the proposed distribution and allocation of compensation for the personal injury claim.

Information can be gathered through interviews, including the extent of the child's injuries and their current medical condition. After the investigations and interviews are completed by the Guardian Ad Litem they are required to prepare a report for the court with information about their findings and their recommendations for the personal injury case. Recommendations are made with the best interest of the child in mind.

The Guardian Ad Litem is considered an officer of the court, but the judge will determine whether the settlement and proposed distribution is in the best interests of the minor. After the court makes their ruling the judgment will determine how all funds and compensation are distributed to each party. The Guardian Ad Litem is then dismissed from the personal injury case and all of their legal duties related to the case and is paid for their services.

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