Lifelong Care: The Intersection of Medical and Legal Issues
Injuries that once may have been deadly, particularly traumatic brain injuries, are often no longer fatal. However, the severity of these injuries and the advancement in treatment has resulted in an increase in personal injury victims’ needs for lifelong care. In addition, as treatment methods change, the cost of lifelong care also increases and decreases over time. The issue of lifelong care combines medical and legal issues, and each cannot be parsed without the other, requiring personal injury lawyers who have experience and knowledge regarding traumatic brain injuries and lifelong care.
Lifelong care and treatment can be very expensive, and private health insurance may not cover all of the cost, or even most of the cost. Further, Medicaid and Medicare may not cover costs associated with lifelong care at all. But the difficulty of assigning a value to decades of future expenses, in order to make a claim for compensation, can be very significant and may require the assistance of a variety of experts to analyze current costs, evaluate their application to an individual injured party, and adjust for economic factors and future price changes.
Medical professionals who specialize in lifelong care or rehabilitation can develop predictive, long-term treatment plans for personal injury victims by analyzing what therapy will be needed, for how long, so that an estimate of cost can be made. Doctors and rehabilitative specialists will also consider the costs of medical equipment. For instance, a person needing lifelong care due to a personal injury may need a wheelchair ramp installed, assistive equipment, and even basic medical care materials like gauze, braces, and cotton swabs.
Of course, the estimate will not reflect factors like inflation, growth of the economy, the fluctuations of prices, or others. To incorporate this information, a specialized expert called a medical economist uses these factors to create a predictive model. Once the model is complete, the injured party, counsel, and medical professionals all working on the case will have an estimate of the eventual cost of long-term care that is as accurate as possible.
Age is also a substantial factor in the calculus of personal injury compensation figures in lifelong care cases. Estimates for injuries to young people may be viewed as less accurate, as a longer life can mean the potential for new treatment developments, cures, or unexpected improvements, and estimates for injuries to older individuals may be difficult to calculate if the sufferer has other contributing medical conditions or is likely to develop complications.
Unfortunately, this process is complicated, and juries often find themselves confused about personal injury claims involving requests for compensation of future long-term care costs. With the testimony of doctors medical economists, and others, juries may find themselves mired in a long list of numbers and economic models, which may be difficult to parse once the jury is left alone to deliberate and examine evidence. A jury could respond by being skeptical of future predictions and numbers larger than they may have expected.
For this and many other reasons, a personal injury case based on an injury that may call for lifelong care should be argued by an experienced personal injury lawyer who has worked on cases involving lifelong care or traumatic brain injuries in the past. At Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian, our qualified Tampa personal injury lawyers are available. Call toll-free at 1 (800) 227-2275 for a consultation today.