Guardian Ad Litems in Personal Injury Cases
If a settlement is reached in a personal injury lawsuit, the trial court may appoint an ad litem for the interest of the minor or incapacitated person. Typically, personal injury claims for minors or incapacitated persons are prosecuted by their next friends (generally the parents) pursuant to Tex.R. Civ. P 44.
Tex. R. Civ. P. 173 provides for appointment of a guardian ad litem when both the minor or incapacitated person and the next friend have separate claims for settlement funds in a personal injury lawsuit. The parties may request or a court may independently appoint a guardian ad litem to review the terms of the settlement to insure that the minor or incapacitated person’s interests are adequately protected. Rule 173 specifies the timing of an appointment, the nature of the guardian ad litem’s duties, and a mechanism by which guardian ad litems can request and secure payment for their services.