If your child suffered a preventable injury with long-lasting consequences during delivery, it’s wise to consider what you’ll need for an effective “life care” plan before filing a lawsuit.
Knowing your ultimate goal can make it a lot easier for you and your attorney if you decide to pursue a birth injury lawsuit. You can enter negotiations with that goal in mind and only go forward with action in court if you’re unable to reach it (or another satisfactory resolution).
What is a life care plan?
A life care plan is essentially a way of estimating the future costs that you and your child will need (once he or she becomes an adult) for any medical care, ongoing therapy and home health aides.
Depending on the type and extent of your child’s disability, you may even need to factor in the cost of someone to help with ordinary essential daily tasks, like personal grooming and taking his or her medication.
How is a life care plan developed?
It’s unlikely that you can develop a life care plan without reaching out to other specialists. You may need to consult with an economist, a rehabilitation counselor, a physical therapist, an occupational counselor, psychiatrists and other specialists in order to get a clear picture of your child’s likely future needs.
The economist’s role is particularly important because he or she has to use an analysis of historical trends and data in order to predict changes in cost for all these services in the future.
Life plans are why many birth injury cases are settled for large sums of money — the attorneys handling those cases are looking through an economic magic mirror and trying to predict the future needs of their clients as accurately as possible.
What types of birth injuries may require a life plan?
Only the most severe injuries — ones that will never really heal — require one. Some injuries that may require a life plan include severe cases cerebral palsy, which is caused by a lack of oxygen at birth roughly 10 percent of the time.
Other birth injuries that need a life plan include severe cases of Erb’s Palsy or Klumpke’s Palsy, Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy and spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis.
Don’t pursue a financial settlement without obtaining a clear life plan first. Your child’s future well-being may depend on it.