The Role of a Guardian ad Litem in Civil Settlements Involving Children

In Virginia, a child in a civil suit is considered to be a “person under a disability” in the eyes of the law. See Virginia Code § 8.01-2(6)(b). For a child who is injured who is to receive a recovery in a personal injury cases or who is a potential beneficiary in wrongful death claim, this legal classification means that the child must be appointed a “guardian ad litem” or “GAL.” A GAL is an attorney appointed by the court who must have special certification.

If a child is an injured party in a personal injury case, any settlement of that case requires court approval. See Virginia Code § 8.01-424(B). Virginia law also requires a court to approve wrongful death settlements. See Virginia Code § 8.01-55. Once the parties petition a court to approve a personal injury or wrongful death settlement involving a child, the court will then require the appointment of the GAL to ensure that the settlement is in the child’s best interests.

The role of a GAL for a minor in a personal injury or wrongful death settlement case is quite different from the role of a GAL for a minor in most other cases such as abuse or neglect or custody cases. Although the ultimate objective is the same – to protect the child’s best interests – a GAL in a civil settlement case should have experience and competence in the area of personal injury law. Such experience will allow the GAL to properly evaluate the case and assess liability and damages, including the future needs of the injured minor. Most importantly, a knowledgeable GAL will ensure that both the minor client and the integrity of the settlement itself are well-protected.

At Locke and Quinn, our experience in handling personal injury matters means that our attorneys who are certified to act as GALs for children are uniquely qualified to serve in civil settlement cases involving minors. Please contact our office with any further inquiries about our guardian ad litem services.

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My husband and I just recently finalized the adoption of our son thanks to Colleen! Our situation happened FAST, and Colleen never missed a beat. Colleen, Katie and Charli were all quick to answer any questions we had and made us feel confident in their ability to provide the services needed. We were blown away at the knowledge and organization Colleen had throughout this process as well! We intend to continue to grow our family through adoption again, and will be using Locke & Quinn!
Ashley Halsey
Ashley Halsey
2019-02-10T03:58:33+0000
My wife and I worked with Colleen Quinn and her paralegal Charli (CharSalle) on my daughter's international re-adoption. We are in Fairfax, VA and they were happy to work with us even though we weren’t local to them. Everything was done by email and mail. They answered all of our questions in a timely manner and were very knowledgeable about the process. We worked almost entirely with Charli after the initial emails and phone calls and she was great to work with. They filed all of our paperwork with our court, everything went smoothly, and we received our Final Order. Charli has always kept us in the loop about the process and sent us updates. We mailed original documents back and forth without any issue. Their legal fee was very competitive and better than most attorneys in our own area. We are very pleased with their work and assistance in getting our adoption finalized. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone. Thank you!
Ahmed Rashid
Ahmed Rashid
2018-12-20T14:52:57+0000
Great experience!! Everything I needed they took care of with a timely fashion! Highly recommend!
Morgan Williams Seay
Morgan Williams Seay
2018-08-21T00:14:11+0000
Bob Stiepock
Bob Stiepock
2017-10-23T19:39:04+0000
Personal Injury is a challenging event on many levels in ones life. Have you experienced a moment where you were injured and need to seek legal advice? You need to make a call to Colleen Quinn today. I began to research different law firms that handled Personal Injury. I interviewed several attorneys and spoke with large practices to small firms. I was impressed by Colleens resume and her work with women and the law. I will never regret hiring Colleen and her TEAM. The word TEAM is exactly what I received through out my case. My case was attacked with professionalism and the team was always in communication with me. When I would call to ask questions or to get a better explanation I was always made to feel as if I was the only client. As my case arrived closer to the trail date, my TEAM went into full 110%+ effort and preparation. Colleen was ALWAYS seeking to settle my case with the best outcome that she could. YOU WILL NOT FIND A MORE UPFRONT, HONEST, HARDWORKING-GET IT DONE ATTITUDE THAN THE TEAM OF COLLEEN M. QUINN!! MAKE THAT CALL TODAY-YOU WONT REGET IT!!
Lisa Moore Walker
Lisa Moore Walker
2017-09-17T03:54:10+0000
Cathy Tyree Herb
Cathy Tyree Herb
2013-07-30T17:33:44+0000

 

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