New York, NY — In many personal injuries and medical malpractice cases, the individual’s injuries are catastrophic and life-changing. A life care plan can be an invaluable tool in a settlement negotiation or trial.
Under New York law, persons harmed by accidents and medical mistakes are eligible to be compensated for damages, including lost wages, medical bills, the loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering, among other things. Victims may also be eligible to receive money for future medical expenses and custodial care.
Medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers often use a life care plan to get an accurate projection of these future expenses. The life care plan should be a comprehensive review of all potential future medical costs, including surgeries, medications, medical devices like wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs, rehabilitation and therapy, and the cost of assisted living or a home health aide.
Life care plans may be prepared in collaboration by a medical malpractice lawyer and a rehabilitation expert with 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. Alternatively, life plans can be prepared by medical professionals.
After reviewing all the details of a case, the expert typically prepares 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 victim and their lawyer.
Once complete, the life care plan 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, which typically projects medical costs that are much lower than those contained in the plaintiff’s life care plan because the defense has an incentive to pay as little in damages as possible. In many cases, both sides have an opportunity for their experts to testify during trial and rationalize their own versions.
Depending on the complexity of the case, producing a life care plan can run into thousands of dollars. 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 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.
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