A "life care plan" sets forth current and anticipated future costs of medical bills, lost earning capacity and other expenses following a catastrophic injury. It is often used in a Nevada personal injury case to show the compensatory damages caused by another party's negligence or other wrongful act.
Costs illustrated by a comprehensive life care plan can include (but are not limited to)
- Doctor's visits,
- Therapy and rehabilitation,
- Surgical costs,
- Medical equipment,
- Lost earning capacity,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Costs of remodeling or modifying the plaintiff's home or vehicle.
To help you better understand life care plans, our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers discuss, below:
- 1. What is a life care plan?
- 2. What expenses should the plan address?
- 3. How is a life care plan used in a Las Vegas personal injury case?
- 4. How is life expectancy calculated in Nevada?
- 5. What types of personal injury cases benefit from a life care plan?
A life care plan is a life of the current and anticipated future medical needs and costs of someone who has suffered a catastrophic or permanent injury or illness.
Life care plans are often used in personal injury and insurance litigation to help establish the plaintiff's damages.
The specific needs addressed in a life care plan will vary from plaintiff to plaintiff. But expenses set forth in a life care plan in Nevada often include (without limitation):
- Routine medical care.
- Surgeries (including reconstruction).
- Psychological care.
- Occupational or vocational therapy.
- Costs of long-term or short-term care facilities.
- Home health care.
- Diagnostic tests and ability assessments.
- Supplies and equipment (diapers, wheelchairs, IV equipment, etc.).
- Home modifications (handrails and wheelchair ramps).
- Home furnishings (such as bath lifters or hospital beds).
- “Slip-and-fall” alarms.
- Prosthetics or orthotics.
- Child care.
- Other special aid, equipment or accommodations.
Under Nevada law there is no fixed standard for determining the damages a jury can award for a catastrophic injury. The jury can award any reasonable damages it sees fit.1
A comprehensive and well-drafted life care plan can help the jury understand all the costs the plaintiff will have to bear during his or her "life expectancy."
This can include evidence obtained from (among others):
- The plaintiff s physicians,
- The plaintiff 's therapists,
- The plaintiff (if possible),
- Friends, family and co-workers,
- Medical equipment and supply vendors,
- Home contractors, and
- Expert witnesses, such as vocational experts.
A calculation of damages usually begins with published mortality tables.2 These help a jury determine the “life expectancy” of a similarly situated person.
Published mortality tables are not conclusive, however. It is up to the jury to determine the plaintiff's life expectancy as it existed just before the incident or accident.
Factors the jury may take into account include the plaintiff's health, habits, activities, lifestyle, and occupation.
For instance, if the plaintiff was a miner, the jury may conclude he would have had a shorter life expectancy than an average person of his gender and race.
Or the jury might conclude that the plaintiff lived a healthy lifestyle and might have lived longer.
Anyone with a catastrophic or permanent injury can benefit from a life care plan. Cases in which they are particularly useful include:
- Anesthesia injuries,
- Birth injuries,
- Burn injuries,
- Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE),
- Drowning accidents,
- Head injuries,
- Loss of limbs,
- Nerve injuries,
- Spinal cord injuries,
- Traumatic brain injury (“TBI”).
Need help with a life care plan in Nevada? Call us…
If you or someone you love suffered a catastrophic injury as the result of someone else's wrongful act, we invite you contact us for a free consultation.
We handle all types of personal injury claims, including car accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, dog bites and "slip-and-fall" accidents. We also represent spouses and registered domestic partners who have experienced a loss of consortium in Nevada because of the injury to their spouse or partner.
Call us at 702-DEFENSE to schedule your free consultation with one of our lawyers.
Or complete the form on this page and we will contact you at a convenient time.
We can also help if you need a life care plan for a California personal injury case.
- Canterino v. The Mirage Casino-Hotel, 16 P.3d 415 (2001); Stackiewicz v. Nissan Motor Corp. in U.S.A., 686 P.2d 925 (1984).
- Commonly used life expectancy tables are the Vital Statistics of the United States, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics.