The injured party, Ryan*, was an active teenager at the time of his injury. He was engaged in innocent rough-housing while attending a party at a friend’s home and tragically fell, essentially breaking his neck.
The spinal cord injury he sustained rendered him a quadriplegic who will now be lifelong in a wheelchair and dependent upon others for help. With no voluntary control over his bladder or bowels, Ryan requires catheterization daily and a complex bowel program involving the assistance of another person.
Having lost most use of his hands, Ryan underwent a surgery to restore partial hand function, but he will never be able to engage in making intricate woodcarvings or other art as he had so proudly been able to do; indeed that he had won awards for. Because he was injured about a year prior to his high-school graduation, the injury, follow up surgeries, and necessary lengthy rehabilitation course sharply curtailed Ryan’s college plans.
The personal injury attorney pursued the insurance providers of the adults at whose home the injury occurred. The attorney discovered that other teenagers who were also minors attending the party had moved Ryan’ s body after the initial injury. The attorney pursued the parents of these individuals for their role in worsening Ryan’s injury and increasing the severity of his ongoing disability. Some of the insurance providers were quick to settle. Others held out.
Enter the Life Care Plan: Lifecare Innovations (LCI) was retained by the attorney, and by Ryan who had since attained age of majority, to provide a comprehensive Life Care Plan detailing Ryan’s condition, current and future care needs. As a teenager, Ryan was quick in his depositions to emphasize the ways in which he had “risen above” and overcome many aspects of his disability. He was not given to detailing the painstaking care that was now needed on a daily basis to perform normal daily activities or to allow basic functions such as bladder and bowel elimination; and he would sometimes “ignore” the painful spasms and tightness in his legs caused by his spinal cord injury. Ryan had become an adult during the time following his injury and acute rehab after all, and while being deposed by attorneys was not going to speak about how he required help from his mother to have a shower, or to perform certain toilet functions.
Further, Ryan was not excited to hear his doctor’s recommendations for pursuing ongoing physical therapy knowing that he would never walk again. The details of doctor’s recommendations, required daily care, and limitations of Ryan’s functional abilities were, however, key factors with regards to what his ongoing care would cost. The future care costs into his adult years, while not Ryan’s immediate concern, were fortunately very real to his parents, and to his attorney.
The Life Care plan was systematically developed to identify and explicate Ryan’s current needs, future needs, and associated costs. Lifecare Innovations’ Life Care Plan included review of Ryan’s medical and treatment records, conference with attending doctors and experts, and meeting with Ryan first hand, all in order to quantify his needs. Accepted methodologies, current research findings, and best practice standards guided development of the plan so that it projects Ryan’s future in both care and in dollars and cents as accurately as possible. This plan became a key pre-trial tool for Ryan’s attorney to utilize in the course of insurance negotiations and mediation. The outcome of the mediation was favorable for Ryan, resulting in a multi-million dollar settlement. A solid, practical and far-reaching Life Care Plan is an indispensable tool at the mediation table.
*All names and identifying data have been changed