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Life Care Planning Due To Medical Malpractice

The role of a life care plan in recovering financial compensation

When a person is harmed as a result of medical malpractice, their life may never be the same. They can experience chronic health issues, permanent disability, and a diminished quality of life. Their injuries may also prevent them from working or taking part in their usual daily activities. They can experience significant pain and suffering.

Victims of medical malpractice have the right to take legal action to recover financial compensation for the damages they have suffered. These damages include medical expenses for the continuing care they will need in the future. When a medical malpractice lawyer files a lawsuit, a life care plan will be a crucial component of the case.

What is a life care plan?

A life care plan is a comprehensive document outlining the anticipated medical and non-medical needs of a person who has suffered a personal injury due to medical negligence or malpractice. It is typically prepared by a qualified life care planner and serves as a roadmap for a malpractice victim’s future care and rehabilitation needs.

What qualifications does a life care planner have?

Life care planners typically have a diverse range of qualifications and experience. They often have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing, social work, rehabilitation counseling, or healthcare administration. Planners also usually have several years of experience working in healthcare settings, such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, or insurance companies.

Life care planners may also have professional certification as a Certified Life Care Planner (CLCP) or Certified Nurse Life Care Planner (CNLCP). They also participate in professional development and continuing education seminars to stay up to date on the latest advancements in healthcare, legal issues, and financial planning.

What types of medical malpractice can result in the need for a life care plan?

A life care plan can be used to address any type of medical malpractice that leads to severe injuries or disabilities. Common examples of medical malpractice include:

  • Surgical errors – From anesthesia errors to failure to prevent infections and wrong-site surgeries (e.g., surgery on the wrong body part), these errors can have long-term complications. Victims may be left with permanent disabilities, chronic pain, and the need for rehabilitation and ongoing medical treatment.
  • Medication errors – These include prescription drug errors and mistakes in the dispensing or administering of medication. Mismanagement of drugs such as opioids and other powerful medications can result in adverse reactions, incorrect dosages, and drug interactions. Victims can be left with severe injuries, including organ damage.
  • Failure to monitor – For example, failure to monitor a patient’s breathing or respiratory levels can have serious consequences. Undetected complications such as pneumonia or oxygen deprivation can lead to permanent brain damage, organ failure, or coma.
  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis – Failure to diagnose or a delay in diagnosing a serious medical condition means the condition will progress untreated and can have a significant impact on long-term health.
  • Birth injuries – Improper use of forceps, failure to identify fetal distress, or errors during delivery can cause brain damage, cerebral palsy, or other lifelong disabilities, requiring constant medical attention and specialized therapy.

How much does a life care plan cost?

The cost of a life care plan can vary significantly depending on various factors, including the complexity of the case and the extent of the injuries or medical conditions involved. In general, life care plans can range from a few thousand dollars to ten thousand dollars or even more in some cases.

Lawyers representing clients in medical malpractice suits may cover the cost of obtaining a life care plan. This expense is typically considered part of the legal fees associated with the case and will be paid from the final settlement or jury award.

What factors are considered when developing a life care plan?

When developing a comprehensive life care plan, a wide range of factors are considered to ensure it accurately reflects the person’s anticipated medical and non-medical needs. A life care planner will work with the injured person, their family, and medical professionals to determine these needs.

Medical factors

Examples include:

  • Type and severity of the injury – This forms the foundation of the plan, as the injury plays a major role in determining the level of care required.
  • Current medical condition - Existing medical conditions, ongoing treatments, and potential complications are considered.
  • Prognosis – It’s important to understand the expected course of recovery and potential future health issues.
  • Life expectancy – This impacts how long care may be needed and the overall cost of the plan.

Functional needs

Examples include:

  • Activities of daily living (ADLs) – The plan assesses the person’s ability to perform basic tasks such as bathing, dressing, and eating and whether help will be needed.
  • Mobility – Will the person require wheelchairs, prosthetics, or other mobility aids?
  • Home modifications – The necessity for modifications such as ramps, handrails, widened doorways, and wheelchair-accessible bathrooms is considered.
  • Speech and communication – If the injury affects communication abilities, specialized therapies or equipment might be necessary.

Treatment and care needs

Examples include:

  • Medical treatment and interventions – These include ongoing doctor visits, medications, surgeries, and rehabilitation therapies.
  • Home care – The need for in-home nursing, physical therapy, or other support services is evaluated.
  • Facility care – If required, the plan considers the costs associated with assisted living facilities, nursing homes, or other institutional care.

Financial considerations

Examples include:

  • Future medical costs – This includes doctor fees, hospital stays, medications, and therapy expenses.
  • Cost of living expenses – The plan factors in housing, food, transportation, and other daily living costs.
  • Loss of income – If the injury prevents the person from working, the plan considers potential lost wages or the need for vocational rehabilitation.

How can a life care plan help with a medical malpractice lawsuit?

A life care plan can significantly contribute to the calculation of damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. It outlines the anticipated expenses for medical treatment and other necessary services over a person’s lifetime. By quantifying these future costs, the life care plan helps attorneys and courts estimate the financial impact of the person’s injuries and determine the appropriate compensation for economic damages.

During settlement negotiations or trial proceedings, presenting a well-prepared life care plan can strengthen a case for damages and help both parties reach a fair resolution of the claim.

Medical malpractice can have very serious and life-changing consequences for victims. However, recovering financial compensation can be a lengthy and complex process. Medical professionals, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities often deny doing anything wrong.

Insurance companies will aggressively fight claims involving medical malpractice because they know there’s a lot of money at stake. They have access to high-powered lawyers to represent their interests.

You need an experienced medical malpractice attorney who knows how to build a strong case that includes convincing evidence and a life care plan that clearly details your future needs.

The attorneys at Johnson Greer Law Group in Decatur are dedicated to fighting for people who have been harmed by the negligence of medical professionals in Atlanta and throughout Georgia. We know the impact that medical malpractice can have on the lives of victims. And we are ready to fight for the financial compensation you deserve.

Learn more about how we can help you with a medical malpractice lawsuit. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this article, “Life Care Planning Due To Medical Malpractice.

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