Using Life Care Plans In Serious Injury Cases

Our firm is currently handling several serious automobile collision cases in which our innocent clients were severely and permanently injured by negligent corporations. In the accident cases I am referring to, both of our clients sustained very serious neck and back injuries resulting in numerous surgeries. Medical expenses and lost wages to date have already been substantial. However, because both of our clients are relatively young adults, the big fear is that as the clients grow older, their medical expenses and lost wages will increase. The issue is how to present such evidence to the insurance carrier in order to force them to agree to a reasonable settlement. Failing to achieve such a settlement, the issue then becomes how to demonstrate to a trial jury that the client’s expenses and pain and suffering will continue permanently over time. In short, how do you place a value on these damages? Our experience indicates that the best way to do so is by retaining the services of a Life Care expert.
A Life Care expert is trained to extrapolate from current medical data future medical costs based upon an analysis of the extent of the injury and the extent of medical treatment necessary to provide relief for it in the future. Typically, Life Care experts have training beyond that of other members of the medical profession and have focused on evaluating future medical needs whether it be future needs for rehabilitative or therapeutic services, future needs for medication, possible need for future surgery and the like. By conferring with treating physicians and by analyzing available medical evidence, a Life Care expert can prepare a plan which charts, as reasonable as possible, what is likely to occur over time given the current diagnosis and current medical conditions the client suffers from. Data from other similar cases in the past can support the extrapolations into the future.
The reason Life Care Plans are helpful is because they provide a overview of what the future holds for injured persons. For example, someone who loses a leg traumatically and is forced to have a prosthetic device is likely to require many different prosthetic devices over their lifetime. This is particularly true for a young person. The Life Care expert can calculate these costs over time and can come up with a Life Care Plan for the injured individual which includes consideration of such future medical costs, which would include not only the cost of the prosthetic device, but also therapy, medications and so forth. By extrapolating from present day data future medical costs, the Life Care expert and the Life Care Plan can help counsel represent those who are suffering today will undoubtedly continue to suffer in the future and will require future medical expenses. Depending upon the size of the claim and the kinds of damages involved, an economist might also need to be retained in order to quantify the present cash value of future medical expenses and/or lost wages. Either way, the Life Care expert can be of tremendous assistance in helping counsel convince the insurance carrier for the at fault defendant to pay the reasonable costs not only of damages incurred to date, but also anticipated future medical expenses and lost wages. If such an effort at settlement is unsuccessful, the Life Care expert can assist counsel also in helping to convince a jury that it should include as part of its award future medical expenses and lost wages.

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