Life Care Planning for Your Baby
Birth Injuries and Their Aftermath
Some birth injuries resolve themselves. For example, minor bruising or even some types of paralysis like Erb’s palsy can heal fully within a few months of birth.
Others do not.
Severe birth injuries can lead to lifelong complications. Most will affect a child and his or her family for the rest of their lives. When medical errors or negligence cause harm to a child, that child is entitled to compensation. In a legal case filed on behalf of the child, all the costs—physical, fiscal, and emotional—are counted, and settlements usually involve a life care plan.
What Is a Life Care Plan?
Life care plans are legal documents that estimate the total costs for a child’s birth injury over the course of the victim’s lifetime. Life care plans are drafted by a group of specialists: medical experts, physicians, and attorneys who speculate on the amount of money (adjusted for inflation) that the injured child and family will need so as not to endure undue financial hardship.
In general, a life care plan will include provisions for the following:
- Medical care of the injury victim from infancy through adulthood
- Medical procedures anticipated throughout the injury victim’s life
- Any necessary therapy, such as occupational, speech, physical, and emotional therapy
- Professional in-home care
- Adaptive equipment needed, such as wheelchair lifts for modified vehicles, etc.
- Household modifications needed, such as ramps, handrails, special bathtubs, etc.
- Special transportation
- Special education
Additional allowances for parents may also be included in a life care plan, including:
- Respite care
- Lost wages
- Loss of career
- Extreme changes to lifestyle
- Emotional anguish and mental duress
Why You Should Have a Life Care Plan
A birth injury can result in severe mental and physical disabilities requiring professional care.
If the parents are qualified and choose to be the child’s primary caregiver, this can mean the loss of a career or a major reduction in earnings. Severe handicaps from birth injuries can also demand special equipment and household and vehicle modifications, like special beds, wheelchair ramps, and lifts. And it’s very likely that the child will require special schooling, corrective surgeries, and years of physical therapy—all very costly things.
And let’s not forget the change in a parent’s lifestyle a birth injury can cause; not to mention the pain and suffering, isolation, and alienation the child is going to have to endure. These future expenses are why many birth injury settlements involve a life care plan—to plan and provide for the child who was hurt.