In most cases an adult is legally capable of making their own decisions, to initiate, and settle a legal action. However, if a person is not legally competent to manage their own affairs or to make proper decisions in their own interest, someone else can (and should) be appointed to make decisions on their behalf. “Committee” (pronounced kom-it-ee) is the legal term used in British Columbia for this court-appointed legal guardian.
If our clients need the support and protection of a committee (and those with very severe brain injuries often do) we will arrange for this to occur. Often it is a family member or trusted friend who will become a committee, but it can also be the Public Guardian and Trustee, or even a trust company. This process allows a family to act on behalf of their loved one who may not be able to take steps or cooperate in the legal process.
We recently settled a case for a severely brain injured client whose son was acting as her committee. In this case, we took steps at the start of the lawsuit and appointed our client’s adult son as her legal representative. Throughout the litigation process he made all the decisions. In appointing her son as committee, it provided our client with the protection she needed during and after the lawsuit – ensuring that her interests are protected and that the funds she receives are spent sensibly.