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"Why Should I Use a Life Care Plan?"

Santo Steven BiFulco MD

Dr. BiFulco is a Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation, and Pain Medicine Specialist who has practiced in Florida and New York since 1990. Dr...

Dr. BiFulco is a Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation, and Pain Medicine Specialist who has practiced in Florida and New York since 1990. Dr...

Nov 7 4 minutes read

If you've been involved with a medical and legal case you may be considering having a Life Care Plan done, but you also may be wondering why you should use a life care plan over other options. 

This article will help you answer that question...

First, let’s clarify who “I” is. In other words, who is asking the question? There are 3 (maybe 4) unique perspectives

  1. The injured individual 
  2. The injured individual’s family or loved ones
  3. A Plaintiff Attorney (representing an injured individual) 
  4. A Defense Attorney (representing an insurance co. or a defendant being sued for negligence) 

The short answer: Generally, with rare exception, who utilizes the Life Care Plan has a unique advantage and gets the benefit from the plan. If you are the injured individual, then you benefit because the plan will specify your long-term medical, psychological, and rehabilitation needs throughout your lifetime and will define the costs now and in the future. You will have a specific roadmap for all the care you will need and will likely benefit from now and in the future. With rare exception, this information is almost never given to you by your usual treating or consulting physician. Many (not all) treating doctors are unwilling and unable to tell you what the future holds in terms of medical care and costs. 

In a case where there is litigation or potential litigation, the courts have sought the specialized knowledge of life care planners so that they, and juries, are better able to understand the long-term effects of serious and catastrophic injuries and the associated economic damages of such cases.

Injured individual’s family or loved ones

The Life Care Plan benefits because the plan will answer so many vital questions that usually surround the confusion and complexities of a serious or catastrophic injury. Families want their father, mother, spouse, etc. back after an injury. A Life Care Plan helps the injured individual “find their way back” to some quality of life, and to their rehab potential. The plan helps the injured individual reduce pain and suffering where possible and helps to avoid complications. 

Plaintiff Attorney (representing an injured individual)

You and your staff benefit in several ways…the care plan enables you to communicate to all interested parties (insurance adjustor, defense attorney, juries and judge) what the “true nature” of the injury is, how much it will cost to care for your client, now and in the future. You benefit because your client now has an accurate and easy to understand roadmap to the future which spells out which doctors they should see, how often, and how much it will cost, what diagnostic tests should be done, how often and how much, etc.

Defense Attorney (representing a defendant or insurance companies’ interests)

You and your staff benefit in several ways… a life care planner can review and critique a plaintiff life care plan. A life care planner can write/create/author a defense life care plan. A life care planner can act as a consultant to you and your team and assist with deposition question of the plaintiff life care planner. So, in short, a defense life care planner can assist in shielding your insured from unnecessary loses or exposure financially by accurately clarifying the plaintiff’s future care needs.

In addition to the above, a Life Care Planner who is a Physician, an MD such as Dr. BiFulco, who also happens to be an experienced treating Medical Doctor who specializes in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (aka Physiatry, pronounced fizz-eye-at -tree) can determine and opine on permanency, causation, reasonableness of past medical bills, life expectancy, and more.

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