Catastrophic Injury Lawyers in California
Future Medical Care Costs
catastrophic personal injury case, inappropriate presentation of the necessarily huge future care costs
will absolutely overwhelm and alienate a jury. Combine an inappropriate
presentation of damages with a difficult liability scenario, and a defense
verdict, or at best, a compromised verdict, can be predicted.
Proper presentation of past and future care expenses, as well as wage and
other economic loss in catastrophic personal injury cases necessarily
requires the assistance of a forensic economist in addition to life care
planners and vocational rehabilitation specialists, as the particular
facts dictate. In fact, after the liability hurdles have been overcome,
one of the most important expert witnesses in your camp will be the forensic
Medical care cost growth rates have historically increased “beyond
rationalization”. For example, based on government statistics alone,
each year, 1935 through 1995, hospital room and related services alone
increased between a “low” of 4.9% to “high” of 11.1%.
Accordingly, let us assume that a life care planner has concluded that
a particular plaintiff’s cost of care (in today’s dollars)
is $106,000 per year through age 45, and then, when her parents die, care
costs increased to $303,000 per year. (Note that these care costs are
conservative in cases truly involving catastrophic personal injuries.)
In such an instance, (assuming a nine-year old catastrophically injured
child), the total future lifetime costs, with a below average historically
based medical inflation rate of 5%, is over $166,000,000. Even when reduced
to present cash value (using a historic U.S. Government bond rate) the
cost is still $14,000,000. Appropriately presenting these damages to a
jury, without alienation, is absolutely essential to the survival of the
Counsel must place these staggering numbers within an inflation framework,
through appropriate expert testimony, in order the jury be assisted, not
alienated, in understanding the future medical costs of the client.
Fiscal responsibility and accountability must likewise occur. It is unfortunately
all too common for defendants to raise such issues as having a state or
federally funded medical care program pay for the plaintiff’s future
care. However, since the taxpayers are not the ones responsible for the
plaintiff’s profound injuries, why should the taxpayers shoulder
the financial burden and assume the debts of the defendant, the true responsible party.
Experienced counsel, through utilization of appropriate experts, can overcome
the staggering impact and financial responsibility necessarily included
in handling a case involving catastrophic personal injuries. Moreover,
once an adequate award has been obtained, special needs trusts and other
devices must be utilized in order to protect a plaintiff’s ability
Lastly, through utilization of appropriate life care planners, counsel
can insure that an individual sustaining a catastrophic personal injury
has a plan tailored to his/her particular needs. Such a plan, if followed,
can only improve the plaintiff’s quality of life.
If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of a catastrophic
injury, you need the assistance of The Scarlett Law Group.Call 415-688-2176 today to speak with a California Personal Injury Attorney.