The injury your child suffered at birth may be a lifelong injury. Whether your baby suffers physical or cognitive disabilities, or a combination of the two, it may impact your child every day for the rest of his life. Your baby can’t yet understand what this means. However, as an adult you know that the medical and financial consequences of a lifelong disability can be overwhelming. How will you provide everything your child needs to grow up as healthy and comfortable as possible?
While you would do anything to help your child, the financial burden of your child’s future needs does not have to be on you. Instead, the person or hospital that caused your child’s birth injury should be the one to pay for all of your child’s future damages just as they are the ones to pay for the damages your child has already suffered.
Before you can request future damages, however, you need to know what your child’s future medical and financial needs may be. A life care plan can be a very important tool in determining the value of these damages.
What Is a Life Care Plan?
A life care plan is a document that explains what your child’s needs are likely to be for the rest of his life and sets goals for the future. The goals help guide what your child’s needs may be now and what they may be as an adult.
Depending on your child’s specific birth injury, a life care plan may include things such as future:
- Healthcare costs, including expected surgeries, medications, and medical appointments
- Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and other rehabilitation therapies
- Educational expenses
- Adaptive equipment
- Home modifications
- Home nursing care or other home care that would not have been otherwise required
- Respite care for parents
- Lost wages
Additionally, any other needs your child is likely to have in the future may be included in the life care plan.
Who Develops a Life Care Plan?
A team of professionals who are familiar with your child’s specific birth injuries should develop a life care plan. This may include, for example, your child’s doctors, nurses, rehabilitation therapists, a social worker who can help you understand government services that may benefit your child, an educational specialist, and others.
It is important to hire a life care team you trust and not to just accept a life care specialist referral from an insurance company. Insurance companies want to minimize your child’s future damages so that they can pay out as little as possible in damages. Therefore, the life planners they recommend may minimize your child’s future needs in her life care plan.
Why Your Child’s Life Care Plan Is Important
A well-developed life care plan can help the judge and jury understand your child’s specific needs. The experts who write the plan will paint a picture of the realistic and unique expenses that your child will face in the future so that your child can be appropriately compensated for all future damages that result from the birth injury she has already suffered.
Your child only has one chance to resolve a birth injury case. Once you agree to a settlement on your child’s behalf or the case is resolved in court (and all applicable appeals have been exhausted) the compensation is final. Your child will not be able to pursue further damages for future expenses. Accordingly, it is important to make sure that you fight for all of your child’s damages now.
Our experienced birth injury lawyers can help you find the right experts to develop a life care plan and we can advocate for your child’s full and fair recovery. Please contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about protecting your child’s rights. Additionally, we encourage you to download a free copy of our guide, Family First: How to Get the Help You Need After a Birth Injury to Your Child Happens in Kentucky, to learn more about what you can do to protect your child’s future.