The use of life care planning in personal injury cases
Representing clients with severe permanent injuries can be challenging on many levels. It can take an emotional toll on a lawyer and it can also be very expensive. The use of a qualified life care planner will greatly assist a trial lawyer in effectively representing clients who suffer such devastating injuries. When we undertake to represent such clients, it is our practice to get a qualified life care planner involved at the beginning.
To begin with, a life care planner is likely to see things in the medical records that are not immediately apparent to a trial lawyer. Many life care planners are health care professionals who can be a very effective liason between the medical providers and the attorney. The life care planner will get to know the client well enough to work in partnership with treating physicians to insure that the client is getting appropriate and excellent medical care. The goal, of course, is to develop a plan for life that details the current and future medical needs of the client.
Any traumatically injured person can benefit from a well developed life care plan. Persons with traumatic brain injuries, spinal chord injuries, severe burn injuries or amputations are specially appropriate for a life care plan. A life care planner will be aware of and can put the lawyer in touch with resources that will be invaluable for assisting a client with overwhelming injuries to receive medical care, rehabilitation services and attendant care necessary and appropriate for his condition.
In terms of proving damages and obtaining adequate compensation, a good life care plan is indispensable. This is especially true for clients who will require some type of attendant or residential care. And the younger the client, the more critical this is. The cost of attendant care for a young adult, projected over the period of his life, can be enormous. A qualified CPA or economist can calculate this cost and reduce it to present value. We have seen life care plans recently that cost out at more than twenty million dollars.
At Jinks, Crow and Dickson, we are trial lawyers who take our obligations to our client seriously. A life care plan does not just help us successfully prosecute our clients’ cases. It can make a difference in the client’s life even without regard to the outcome of the case. We view it as a privilege to represent clients with catastrophic injuries and the cost of a life care plan is a small price to pay to insure that we do the best job we can.