What Is a Life Care Plan in a Medical Malpractice or Personal Injury Case?
When a person gets injured in an accident or harmed due to a medical mistake, they may be able to recover damages to compensate them for their injuries. Under New York law, these damages can include for lost wages, medical bills, the loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering, among other things.
Injury victims are also sometimes eligible to receive money for future medical expenses and custodial care. In many personal injury and medical malpractice cases, the individual’s injuries are catastrophic and life-changing. They may face years of therapy, surgery, and other medical interventions as well as expenses for medical supplies and equipment, nursing and home care attendants, special home alterations to accommodate their disabilities or full time custodial care in a group home, nursing home or assisted living facility. Because these expenses can be so costly, medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers sometimes use a life care plan to get an accurate projection of these future expenses.
Because of the injury or medical malpractice case is the person’s only opportunity to get compensation for their expenses, it’s very important to ensure an accurate and thorough count of all possible costs. This is where a life care plan can be an invaluable tool in a settlement negotiation or trial.
Who Prepares a Life Care Plan?
In most cases, personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers work with a rehabilitation expert who prepares a life care plan. These experts have the skill and experience to analyze a person’s injuries and determine what types of medical interventions and other expenses they will need going forward.
In some cases, the experts who put together a life care plan are medical professionals themselves, such as physicians, registered nurses or physician assistants. Many of them come from rehabilitation or therapy fields, which gives them unique insight into what injury victims are facing as they move through recovery and beyond.
Once the life care plan expert reviews the person’s medical records and the facts of the case, they typically prepare a detailed report that lays out all future projected medical costs and treatments. They may cover areas like potential medical complications and surgeries that could make the cost of care much higher. It’s also common for the life care planner to meet with the injury victim and their lawyer.
The life care plan should be a comprehensive review of all potential future medical costs. This should include surgeries, medications, medical devices like wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs, rehabilitation and therapy, and the cost of assisted living or a home health aide.
What Happens After the Life Care Plan Is Ready?
Once the life care planner has created the life care plan, it is typically disclosed to the defense in an expert witness disclosure. The defense may also offer its own version of a life care plan prepared by its own expert. When the defendant’s expert prepares a life care plan, it will typically project medical costs that are much lower than those contained in the plaintiff’s life care plan. This is because the defense has an incentive to pay as little in damages in possible. In many cases, both sides have an opportunity for their experts to testify during trial and to answer questions about the life care plan and provide a rationale for why they put certain dollar figures on specific types of medical care.
There is a cost associated with the preparation of life care plans. Depending on the complexity of the case, a life care plan can run into the thousands of dollars to prepare. However, when the case involves possibly millions of dollars in future medical bills and other expenses, it’s worth having a qualified expert assess the individual’s injuries and make a comprehensive life care plan A well-crafted life care plan can also be very persuasive during a settlement negotiations, and can mean the difference between getting a lower amount of compensation and a compensation figure that provides the injury victim with real peace of mind about the future.
No one deserves to shoulder the burden of medical bills brought about by another person’s negligence. Medical costs for serious injuries can skyrocket into the tens of thousands or even millions of dollars. Families shouldn’t have to face bankruptcy or a reduced standard of living to be able to pay for an injury victim’s necessary medical treatment.
If you’ve been injured in an accident or due to a doctor’s mistake, a life care plan could give you the peace of mind of knowing your future medical bills will be covered. There are strict time limits for filing a personal injury or medical malpractice claim. Discuss your personal injury or medical malpractice case with an experienced New York City life care plan lawyer.
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Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case. Recoveries always depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, the injuries suffered, damages incurred, and the responsibility of those involved.