Next question is medical cost projection. We’ve discussed this in a number of the other sessions that we’ve had, but just to give a summary, I think medical cost projections are an alternative to life care planning in a number of cases, but understanding their limitations. A medical cost projection focuses on the pricing of the medical treatment that’s projected and largely relies upon the treating physician with regard to what the treatment plan is. So it doesn’t go into nearly as much detail in terms of obtaining history from a patient. It probably is not as helpful in extremely catastrophic cases, especially those that go to a jury. But they can be an option for settlement. And as we just said in the last hour, I think that’s particularly helpful in the situation where it appears likely that the cost that’s involved, the exposure that’s involved is dramatically more than the policy limits and so there’s no point in going further.
But also, I think a medical cost projection is helpful in another situation. And that’s as a double check to be sure that in a “lower-cost” case, that the plaintiff’s attorney isn’t overlooking something that could actually be very important. It might mean that you do need a life care planner to look at it otherwise, and I think that’s very helpful. You know, you could say, well, why do a medical cost projection for a life care plan, well, often the alternative is doing nothing. There are a lot of cases, especially “small” personal injury cases that have settled with no life care planner at all. And there could be key issues that are missed.
So take this case, this was a case that I did, and this was one of these cases where the attorney said, “Oh, literally, probably this is a straightforward case, we’re going into mediation next week or so.” The case is only worth $100,000 or $200,000, but they offered us, you know, nothing, or offered $20,000 or something low and we just need to show them that there really isn’t enough in this so we can get a settlement out of it. That was literally what the attorney said. The attorney expectations were that if it settled for $400,000 or more than that would be a good outcome, and the attorney was expecting to do that.
And it turned out that this was a patient who did have a motor vehicle accident, that with a number of complications requiring spinal fusion surgery. But what’s interesting is the patient had quite a number of other medical complications, especially including Parkinsonism. The bottom line is that this injury was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Excerpted from SEAK’s stream on-demand course, How to Start, Build, and Run a Successful Life Care Planning Practice