The Proof is in the Pudding…Try Avocado Chocolate! And A Life Care Plan for Your Client!

Consider how a Life Care Plan can help your litigated case, especially when the proof is in the pudding.  The ‘proof’ here is a verb meaning ‘test’ and a noun meaning ‘the evidence that demonstrates a truth’ – as in a mathematical or legal proof.  To know if a plan has succeeded, consider the true value or quality of it, as seen when it is experienced, tried, or put to use.

PuddingInterested in a life care plan for your client?

One recent case where I prepared a life care plan helped attain a $3.43 million settlement and judgment in a catastrophic personal injury case. Another plan I wrote helped to reach a $1.5 million award in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

I repeat, interested in a life care plan for your client?

Pudding

As a certified life care planner I will prepare a reasonable plan and I will expend whatever time needed to do a fully competent job. As an added benefit, how about including vocational rehabilitation consulting in a plan? That’s where my forte’ lies!

A plan can take upwards of six months to prepare, depending on the case. By taking the story directly from the patient with input from the family, my subsequent reports and expert testimony become viewed as genuine in front of a judge or a jury. The goal is to zero in on the specific needs and costs of the individual’s healthcare future.

With your input or agreement with my report to be sure we understand everything, I will help you be well equipped to persuade others about the bottom line of your case. And it can be significant because when preparing a plan, I will carefully consider the client’s life and how it has been impacted.

Third time here, interested in a life care plan for your client?   Pudding

I can help you to help your client.  The proof of the pudding for a business is also what customers say about it! I have references available to find out what customers say about my work in the areas of life care planning, as well as in my professional work in other areas, including my writing capabilities.  Pudding

The proof of the pudding for a plan is also what transpires when it is followed by the individual for whom it was written. You’ll find I truly care about what I do and can provide references who will attest to my ethics, research capabilities and the value that I can bring to a case involving work and disability.Money Centerpiece

A Life Care Plan can truly become the centerpiece of your client’s claim!

Because each case is unique, to help identify the level of service for your case, a 15 minute complementary consultation can be arranged. Subsequently, a preliminary assessment of the time-frame a plan could take to prepare can then be offered that helps outline the projected costs which can be anywhere from ~40 – 80 hours, not including expert testimony preparation and witness time.

Keep in mind the necessity to schedule an in person meeting and follow-up visits with the individual and his/her family. Contacts involving his/her treating physician and other members of the healthcare team are made as well over the course of preparing a plan. You can find a simple sample plan on my website under documents for download.

Pudding

Now, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” means that you don’t really know your dessert has come out right until you taste it. Seriously, try this pudding! It’s yummy and healthy! Easy to make too! Avocado

Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Prep Time: 2 minutes Total Time: 5 minutes Yield 2-3 services Serving Size ½ cup

  • 2 ripe medium avocados, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup milk (regular or almond milk, coconut, etc.)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients until smooth in a blender, food processor or using a hand held beater or mixer. Serve immediately or chill first. Eat with a lovely spoon!

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Contact me, Amy E. Botkin at 515-282-7753 for a life care plan because I have studied it, experienced it and continue on my journey growing as an expert in my field. An expert is someone who has enough knowledge to help others confidently! And, darn it all, I like it and I’m good at it (with a humble Arr Arr)!  If you’d like more information, let me know!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Here to Help The Passionate Attorney Help Your Client ~ Life Care Planning Services

Along with vocational consulting services, I offer you life care planning services. Life Care Planning Services are valuable to passionate attorneys such as yourself: One who works to your fullest potential for your clients; One who truly cares about your client; and One who strives to maximize the best outcome for your client. A Life Care Plan will help you help your client.

cartoon lawyer  Are You a Passionate Attorney?  Image result for woman attorney cartoon

Comprehensive Life Care Planning Services focus on the individual who sustained a personal or catastrophic injury, has a congenital disease or acquired illness, or suffered a traumatic event that altered his or her life leaving them with a disabling condition. The individual and his or her family is in need of planning how to live with these ongoing life changes.

Image result for passionate attorney cartoon   Are You a Passionate Attorney? Image result for group of attorneys cartoon

A Life Care Plan outlines an individualized holistic program that documents your client’s specific healthcare needs and a projection of what it costs for that care over their lifetime. An economist reviews the plan to determine the present value of the costs.

Even more, a Life Care Plan  helps prevent medical complications, enhances community and society participation, considers quality of life issues, and assists in maintaining emotional and psychological health. 

The person’s life now has important healthcare needs and significant costs are associated with those needs that will last throughout their lifetime. How can you, the person’s caring and passionate attorney prove this, or show this to others, and why would you need to do so?

A Life Care Plan is helpful in many ways, here are three,

  • to facilitate decision making relating to the individual’s health care, long-term care, and special needs; and those costs related;
  • to identify and obtain good care in the individual’s community, whether at home, an assisted living facility, or, if necessary, a nursing home; and those costs related;
  • to help move the litigation process forward, and ultimately to settle or win a case justifiably at the highest level possible using real data!

A Life Care Plan involves a systematic process (I do that part!) of developing a “road map” of the care, goods and services the person will need to ensure optimal health, safety and life satisfaction. A plan also highlights what it is the person will need to restore or improve their life activities to their maximum potential.

Keep in mind that while most Life Care Plans are developed for people who have suffered a traumatic injury, Life Care Plans are increasingly used for older adults with chronic conditions to anticipate their health and financial needs in later years. Do you have a client in this elite category? If so, be prepared for more future that focuses on healthy living! (Hint: Get a Life Care Plan!)

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The standard definition of a Life Care Plan is a “dynamic document based upon published standards of practice, comprehensive assessment, data analysis and research, which provides an organized, concise plan for current and future needs with associated costs for individuals who have experienced catastrophic injury or have chronic health care needs. (IALCP – International Academy of Life Care Planners, 2003. Definition established during the 2000 Life Care Planning Summit.)

Please visit Dr. Deutsch’s webpage for much more information on Life Care Planning. Dr. Deutsch was on my training team!

CLCP Certificate expires 2-28-21
Life Care Plans
are developed by Certified Life Care Planners (CLCP), who are professionals in rehabilitation with advanced knowledge of specific disabilities, established treatment care resources and a consistent objective approach toward the practical and functional elements involved in providing the treatment of catastrophic injuries and diseases. 

Communication and negotiation skills are essential (so true) while working with patients, families, caregivers and treatment teams. Keep on pursuing my website, which is mainly a relationship building, and read my blog writings. Please consider how Life Care Planning Services will help you help your clients.

Contact me ~ Amy Botkin, MS, CRC, CLCP ~ today at 515-282-7753 to discuss your case.

I am here to help you help your clients!

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Balance Your Case With Your Client’s Real Story

(Original post May 2016)

In her teen days my sister Janice (the Floridian) was quite adept at gymnastics, particularly on the balance beam where she made great use of her balancing skills. When Janice moved on to college, dad cut up the balance beam for a new use as exit steps from a sliding glass door to the back patio!

Balance BeamDad constructed a balance beam and re-purposed it as well!

Balancing is involved in many areas of day-to-day living and is critical to an abundant life. People balance tires, bank accounts, relationships, priorities and work….you get the idea. Finding balance is an ongoing lifetime project. I’ve heard the comment that it’s good to fall / fail because it means you were trying. If you think about your success, you will be successful. If you think about your falls or your failures, you’ll learn to improve.

My dad’s balance had not been good lately, although he was working on improving it. He moved continuously during each day, but a stroke and a fall down steps lead to no return to life on earth. Dad died a week after he turned 83 in the morning on 5/5/16. I’ve blogged about Death as Part of Living, and can now fully realize one has to die from many things in order to move through life and live fully….and there’s always a story to tell.

Highway BalanceRichard R. Prochnow

4/26/33 – 5/5/16

As my dad aged, he never stopped working hard and to his best ability. There was a balance in how he lived his life, and I’ll never stop learning from him! I can calm my mind and simply hear his voice when he called on the phone….“Hi Amy, this is your dad.” [Like I didn’t know!] Then he’d talk about what was happening! And it was real, interesting and well-balanced for the soul.

In whatever situation you’re in, keep on practicing finding balance, and you’ll find a way to not fall; or a way to increase your sense of balance at its core. You may lose direction, or momentarily become blinded, but you’ll find your way again. Trust yourself. Just like my dad did driving thousands if not millions of miles on the road traveling to participate in the world around him.

On a lighter side (yes, I cried but I want you to think about your own life with no tears involved), as part of my personal story, I remember an incident a long time ago while I was working as a banquet server for a hotel…walking into the room full of diners with a large tray of full drinking glasses (tea/water)….well, never mind. Let’s say there was an imbalance that could’ve been disastrous!

Spilled WaterI learned to readjust the next tray and focus on my goal…..just to get the glasses on the table safely without spilling!

We balance our bodies in many, many ways. Balancing skills make use of poses and states of mind to focus attention on work, yoga, aerobics, tabata, healing touch, hiking, golfing, bike riding…being with the person you love. You get the drift, physical activity that involves any number of exercise moves or mental positions.

Yes, simply thinking with a sense of balance is very, very good and helps avoid failure (and falling). Jurists use a balancing test to weigh the importance of multiple factors in a legal case. If you want to highlight these factors, I am more than ready to help you bring a balanced case to court.

Because my work is my life calling and I continuously learn and practice balancing, I will help you help your client. Call me at 515-282-7753 to educate me on your case. A vocational evaluation or a life care plan may provide just the balance you were looking to tell your client’s real story.

P.S. At times I am asked to simply evaluate a specific aspect of a case. Or my opinion on what someone else has already reported. Even how I feel about various aspects of a person’s capacity to succeed….. Don’t hesitate to call me : )

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

“Somebody Call for An Expert?” I’ll Answer That Call!

I’ve written about my fondness for Eeyore and want you to know I’m a bit attached to Gopher as well, especially when he comes to the rescue! You’ve heard the story when Pooh eats too much honey (honey is often on Pooh’s mind) at Rabbit’s place, gets rotund, and subsequently stuck in Rabbit’s front door. Rabbit is not happy and help is needed. Gopher recommends using dynamite, and he’s an expert with that subject, but Pooh isn’t so hot on the idea. If dynamite was needed, Gopher was ready for the rescue! I’ll answer just like Gopher but am willing to work on a team for better results!

Gopher

He pops out exclaiming “Somebody call for an expert?” 

After thinking it through, Pooh, with assistance from his friendly team, realizes how to get unstuck. Christopher Robin recommends he patiently wait until he gets thin….and it works, however, he still needs a good jolt to move through. The team is successful and Pooh ends up on a happy place…filled with honey!

Honey! Yummy! 

You know this Pooh story and I hope you appreciate it! I too use my expertise to help out in complex cases.  I hope you realize that a good expert has more than expertise.

I strive to educate others in a clear manner and explain a complex  subject to a lay audience in simple terms.  It’s important for me to stand up under questioning (here’s a post on intimidation), commit to my opinion, and stay within my area of expertise. Thankfully, my background and training in Community Health Education helps!  And you know what else, a good expert like me cares.

When I made an executive decision to study forensic rehabilitation counseling at George Washington University on April 15, 2013, I initially felt a bit overwhelmed but focused on following through with the decision, complete the course, and graduate which I did on August 15, 2014 . The program taught me more about courtroom testimony and issues as they relate to personal injury, medical malpractice, life care planning, marital dissolution, product liability, and catastrophic injury cases.

The GWU forensic rehab graduate certificate takes about a year and half to complete and is similar to when I committed myself….ha ha, and completed the Life Care Planning certificate program in 2011 through the University of Florida.

My goal for completing another educational program is to gain valuable insight on how to function more effectively, efficiently and confidently within the legal system. Although most of the coursework is online, visiting Washington DC is always awesome!  

When labeled “a firecracker” by a classmate during our 15th class reunion, I had to look up what that meant!

Yes, I realize I can be a bit firecracker-like, mostly because I’m a bold individual and will do what I have to do to accomplish my goals. There’s plenty of satisfying work to accomplish and life constantly moves forward at a really swift pace so it’s important to not slow down. I work hard for my customers, for myself and for my family.

I believe it’s always beneficial for lawyers and experts to spend time getting to know each other. Yep, attorneys think differently than counselors. So, please let’s spend a little quality time together before we meet in a courtroom! It will truly prove beneficial. You’ll find I’m a genuine person who truly cares about serving as an expert in the field and am willing to offer my voice to help you help your client.  Give me, Amy Botkin, a call at 515-282-7753. Thank you for reading!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

Need to Retain an Expert? I’m Here to Help!

As a forensic rehabilitation consultant, I could be available as your next retained expert! I’m Here to Help You Help Your Client! Unique consulting services help identify insights into your litigated case while first-hand testimony helps others to understand it.  In fact, listing me as an expert may spark some much needed movement in the litigation process.  rp_Professional-Expert-Witness1.jpg

And, the sooner the better! When you involve an expert like me on certain cases early in the process, you’ll be in a good position knowing you have a professional on hand for the duration of your case.

My companies Vocational Resources Plus LLC and Life Care Planning Resources Plus LLC lovingly co-exist. I’ll celebrate the beginning of 19 years in private practice on September 15, 2017 (and they say it’s my birthday too, yeah)! Although I’ve been in the field of vocational rehabilitation from the start….that’d be 1999, forensic rehabilitation and life care planning are both new specialties!

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In celebratory style, I’m reaching out to attorneys who are passionate about helping clients.

Here on this website you’ll find various links to my writings about serving in various capacities within my field, such as my focus on life care planning (with a vocational rehabilitation component), vocational consulting, placement, and serving as an expert witness.  I like to blog about why my work is important and to help people identify how to use my services. Further, it’s fun to write and I like to showcase my credibility, methodology and expertise. (Read my disclaimer!)

LightbulbWant to help your clients even more? Consider tapping into my creative resources!

My analysis and opinion of how I can help your case will be straightforward, honest and grounded in rehabilitation. As such, this may or may not support your case. I can usually determine whether or not I can help your case within the first few hours of research, and will limit such fees based on our agreement.

Please keep in mind that permission to use my name, or in any way indicate that I am an expert witness or consultant for your side of a case, either informally or formally with other parties, is not granted until a retainer is secured. Contact me for information on retaining me!

FootballIf I have to pass on a case, I’ll do what I can to offer recommendations.

So, give me a call at at 515-282-7753 and let’s have a conversation. I promise to value your time!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Life Care Planning Helps Attorneys in Many Ways & in All Phases of Litigation! Yes, Really!

Image result for projection cartoonLitigation strategies include many a plan!  

Life Care Planning helps because it becomes a comprehensive document that provides for the future care and associated costs of a person facing a serious illness or injury.

In earlier phases of litigation, a life care plan helps evaluate the potential value of a case. During settlement negotiations, a life care plan helps identify monetary ranges. And of course during trial a life care planner can be critical to your litigation success!

Life Care Planning Services Help Attorneys in Many Ways, Here’s A Few:

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  • Project future cost of care ~ When someone has sustained a life altering injury, trying to determine the correct and fair amount for a settlement is a daunting task. It’s difficult to properly analyze all aspects of an injured party’s condition. A professional life care planner can help you assess the current needs of a patient and project future complications with a systematic approach to analyzing the injured party’s current and future conditions. After analyzing all injury-related documents, interviewing the injured party and communicating with medical professionals, the life care planner will produce a plan that considers future costs in order to ensure a fair and reasonable quality of life. The plan will consider financial, physical, and psychological factors. In the end, you’ll have a thoroughly researched document that will prove bulletproof at settlement conferences and in the courtroom.

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  • Consider likely complications ~ When it comes to catastrophic injuries and long term illnesses, you have to expect the unexpected. Almost undoubtedly, complications will arise in association with the life-altering events somewhere down the road. With that in mind, an experienced life care planner will identify the most likely future complications, allowing all parties involved to understand and adequately provide for these unforeseen circumstances.

  • Expert Testimony* ~ An experienced life care planner provides crystal-clear medical testimony for depositions and trial. Life care planners can accurately and simply describe the injured person’s lifetime of needs and justify the associated costs.      *In Addendum, as a Vocational Expert, I am also qualified to testify on the injured person’s work life and earning capacity.

Able to be customized ~ Not all cases require a full-blown life care plan. However, that doesn’t mean a life care planner can’t help you. The injury or illness doesn’t necessarily have to be catastrophic in order to benefit from future care cost projections. Versatile life care planners offer abbreviated plans for these special situations that allow you to evaluate case value and strategize early on.

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  • Establishes a level playing field ~ Regardless of what side of the fence you stand on, you can benefit from hiring a professional for life care planning services. A life care plan helps all parties know what to expect and thus helps settlements be reached more quickly. A life care planner can aid in strategizing to ensure the best possible outcome. It’s not just a time-saver. It’s a tool that gives you the key insight of one with an understanding of medical needs and the associated costs.

If you represent someone who has suffered a serious injury or illness, or a defendant accused of being responsible for an injury, consider obtaining a life care plan. Doing so will allow you to understand the future care needs of the affected party, which will result in a speedy, fair settlement.

Source for above written article: http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/benefits-of-life-care-planning-in-all-phases-of-litigation-3466273.html  Oct 13, 2010 • By Nancy Fraser

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Contact Amy E. Botkin, a Certified Life Care Planner at 515-282-7753 to discuss how a life care plan can help you to help your client. *I have the expertise to include Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Recommendations, when needed, into a person’s plan, and am trained in expert testimony.

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Bring Me, A Life Care Planner, On Board…The Earlier in Litigation, The Better!

Do you represent someone who has suffered a serious injury or illness? Or do you represent a defendant accused of being responsible for an injury? If so, consider obtaining a life care plan! A life care plan can help you evaluate the potential value of a case in early stages of litigation.

I’m a Certified Life Care Planner who can describe the injured individual’s diagnosis, healthcare needs and treatment plan, and provide actual costs. Having this information allows for better strategic decisions on the case.

Empty Chess BoardI will help you make better strategic decisions! Full Chess Board

 

 

Bringing me on board as your life care planner is also useful for non-catastrophic cases. In any legal situation, the earlier the intervention, the greater the likelihood of successful case resolution!

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~ Give me, Amy, a call at 515-282-7753, I’d love to help you help your client ~

Here on my website you’ll find a sample life care plan. Please know I’m in a unique position to prepare these as I’m also a  Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and earned a certificate as a Forensic Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.

Keep in mind that if your case involves work and disability, my background allows me to include specifics on an individual’s world of work. (Not all life care planners can do this!)

Image result for chess game

Also, yes I play chess. I see my queen as the most valuable player. She can move in any direction and as many spaces as she likes. I do everything I can to protect her. The same as I would with your client and your case. Checkmate!

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * lcpresourcesplus.com * 515-282-7753  * VocResources@gmail.com

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Want to Buy Some TIME From Me…an Educator and a Counselor?

You’re a good attorney, and you care about the people you represent. You’re also busy and spend a lot of time on time. In fact, you even buy TIME. And, I’m writing to help you make a more comfortable purchase from me!

MoneyTime

I fully realize attorneys buy TIME

Time – Because you bill by the hour (and so do I), I promise to help you be more productive and, thus, more successful by providing value laden services.

Pinky SwearI promise to always respect your time.

 

Information – Because I totally understand why you HATE looking stupid (and so do I), I will provide accurate information that you want or need.

Pinky SwearI promise to always ensure you have a good reason for working with me.

 

Money – Because saving money and making money are the goals for almost every law firm (and for every consulting firm too), I will effectively use all the resources available to help with your case.

Pinky SwearI promise to be accurate and fair with my billing.

 

Education – Because lawyers always need continuing education (and so do I) to maintain your license, I am available to present to any group that would benefit from learning about work and disability. In addition, as I’m an educator and a counselor, I can help you and your clients in many ways.

Pinky SwearI promise to bring new light to your litigation strategies.

 

Time on HandsHow much TIME would you like to have on your hands…especially when working on a complex case that has to do with work and disability? So there it is!  But wait, there’s more

I, Amy, promise to Always Be True at My Core, Apple Butterflybecause that’s all I have ever had and have ever needed! And I’m willing to share.

Enjoy a piece of quality fruit (preferably on an empty stomach!) and then give me, Amy E. Botkin, a call to discuss your case. 515-282-7753

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Using Vocational Rehab Experts and Life-Care Planners to Prove General Damages

This is a great article, by quite a super lawyer from what I’ve read, based from Santa Monica CA. Please read on!

Using Vocational Rehab Experts and Life-Care Planners to Prove General Damages by Geoffrey S. Wells

The use of a vocational rehabilitation expert and a life-care planning expert is even more important today than it has been in the past. This is due in part to the jury’s overall skepticism on general damage awards. It is not uncommon today to hear a juror during jury selection say something to the effect that “I have no problem awarding damages that are actually provable, such as lost wages or medical costs in the past and the future, but I have a real problem with pain and suffering damages.” The plaintiff lawyer’s ability therefore to provide actual economic numbers for the jurors is more important today than it has ever been in the past.

Vocational rehabilitation. The use of a vocational rehabilitation expert should be implemented anytime your clients have permanent injuries that either impair their ability to do their old jobs or impair their ability to do any job. One of the most important aspects of a good vocational rehabilitation plan is assessing the loss of earning capacity. The loss of earning capacity is not just the loss of a particular job, but it is the inability to be able to earn what a person would have been capable of earning had he or she never been hurt. Many defense lawyers gloss over the lost earning capacity component of the vocational rehabilitation plan. I think it is very important that the jury understands through the testimony of your expert the whole issue of lost earning capacity.

Assessing lost earnings where a person can no longer work is easy, and I am not going to discuss it in this article. The difficult part of assessing lost earnings comes into play when your client can do some things, but not other things. Additionally, the real issue comes into play when the defense argues, through their defense vocational rehabilitation expert, that your client actually can earn more money post-accident than they would have earned if the accident had not happened at all. Once you get past the emotional frustration of having to address this argument, you need to have a game plan on how to attack it.

I am going to use a specific case example where you have a client who has average to above-average intelligence and who has been working in some type of physical job such as construction his or her whole life. Post-accident, the client can no longer do physical work. The defense vocational rehabilitation expert does testing. The results of that testing show that the individual can now work as a computer programmer and is going to be the next Bill Gates, earning two or three times as much as he or she did doing construction. How do you handle this argument? The answer – it depends on the client.

I represented a cement finisher who worked in the construction industry doing everything from parking lots to the Staples Center. He suffered a bad fall and received debilitating injuries to both of his ankles and legs in the fall. The defense vocational rehabilitation expert had him becoming a computer programmer in an office, earning two times as much money as he ever did as a cement finisher. The problem with the defense assessment is that no one ever asked the client how he felt about working in an office behind a desk all day. I asked him, and he told me he would rather jump off a bridge than be locked up in a building all day. He told me that he had been in construction his whole life and that he loved being a cement finisher. He considered himself an artist and showed me pictures of all the different structures around Los Angeles that he had worked on. These included the Staples Center, among others. He told me he would never last in an office behind a desk.

In response to this defense assessment, I had my vocational rehabilitation expert assess the psychological component of the job market placement options for my client. My expert agreed that there was no way my client would ever be an office guy, and he explained this in his report. Many jurors who work with their hands outdoors completely understand the whole psychological component of the job market placement.

When discussing damages for lost earning capacity, I think it is important to make the case that your client is not just some statistic, but that he or she is unique and that any assessment must take into consideration the individual’s life and life experiences. In the case of the cement finisher, my vocational rehabilitation expert assessed him as someone who had the ability to be a foreman. The problem was that whenever there is a job being poured and something goes wrong, the foreman must have the experience and ability to get into the cement and help out. Since he was unable to do this, it was obvious that he would be unable to ever work in that area again. This substantially increased his lost earnings and lost earning capacity numbers in the case.

Many variations of the above-depicted scenario can be used in your cases. One of the important components to consider is that before your client is examined and tested by your own vocational rehabilitation expert, that you meet with the client and get a feel for him or her and the person’s life experience so that you understand those components before he or she is tested. Then, share your thoughts with your vocational rehabilitation expert.

Life-care planning. Another area of economic damages is the area of the cost for future medical care or what is known as life-care planning. In order to provide an assessment for life-care planning, you need to hire a life-care planner. The life-care planner helps determine the lifetime needs and costs of care for the chronically or catastrophically injured person. The life-care plan incorporates a complete approach to depicting the client’s medical, psychiatric, psychological, behavioral, educational, vocational and social needs. The life-care plan also incorporates the individual’s recovery process as well as his or her current problems, and future problems that may be inherent with a particular disability. The life-care plan serves as a guide for the client’s treating physicians and family members who will be involved with the client’s care for the rest of his or her life.

One of the key components of any life-care plan is that it is geared towards preventative medicine that will help minimize any deterioration of the client’s individual condition. A well thought-out life-care plan provides scientific and credible evidence to depict future medical needs of the client in the given case.

The key basis for any life-care plan is that your life-care planning expert be provided with all of your client’s medical records, reports, tests etc. Additionally, I think it is even more important now that your life-care planner also have the opportunity to review all the treating doctor depositions, as well as your client’s deposition. Additionally, where possible, you should make arrangements for your life-care planning expert to have discussions with and get approval from your client’s treating doctors as to the proposed life-care plan.

The areas of cross examination by the defense on any lifecare plan focus in on the fact that the lifecare planner did not discuss any of the proposed plan items with any of the plaintiff’s treating doctors. You should take this away from the defense by setting up or requesting that your life-care planner discuss the plan with the treating doctors. It is important to get the treating doctors’ blessings to am of the life-care plan areas that pertain to the specific speciality of the treating doctors. Additionally, if you list your treating doctors as non-retained experts in your expert designation, you can call them at trial and have them confirm the need for portions of the life-care plan.

Another area for cross-examination by the defense is always the area that is the biggest ticket item, which is the attendant or level of nursing care required by your client. I think it is very important to get the treating physicians on board early with your life-care planner as to the necessity of the attendant care and the type of care that is required. There is at least one defense expert out there in the market now who claims under oath that the level of care does not matter with respect to life expectancy from a statistical standpoint. If you have a severely or catastrophically injured client, one of the areas the defense will attempt to attack is the life expectancy of your client.

This is particularly true where you have a client who has either a gastrointestinal tube and/or tracheotomy requirement. In order to try to rebut the shortened life expectancy with the presence of these items, I think it is a good idea to get the treating doctors on board as to their opinions regarding life expectancy with good care. You want to make your client more than just some statistic – you want to show that your client with good care can live a long time, thereby necessitating long-term, good care.

After the life-care planner prepares a detailed matrix of all the various items required, you want to be sure that both the life-care planner and any treating doctors agree that the likelihood that your client will need these items is at least 5 1 percent probability; i.e., the same as reasonably medically probable.” Many times the defense will get an unsuspecting treating doctor to say that certain items on your life-care plan are only possible, as opposed to reasonably medically probable. I would suggest that you want to avert this trap laid by the defense by meeting with the doctors ahead of time and explaining to them the difference legally between something that is possible and something that is medically probable. These opinions can make the difference between getting a poor recovery and a great recovery for your client.

Source:  November 26, 2007    The Advocate Magazine (CAALA)       http://workinjury.com/articles/d-549.htm [This article is reprinted, with permission, from The Advocate Magazine, Volume 34, Number 11, a monthly publication of the Journal of Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles.]  [Although dealing with jury trials and civil litigation, it is quite relevant to third-party workers’ compensation claims, as well as understanding how useful these experts can be in general.]

 

Red PoppyThank you for reading, now please call me, Amy E. Botkin at 515-282-7753.  I’m based out of Des Moines, IA; just as gorgeous a place as any!

I’m well-trained in voc rehab and in life care planning, and completely ready to help you help your client!                 

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Working on a Case Involving Work & Disability? I’m Here to Help You…Depose & More

I can help you in a number of ways with any case you’re working on that involves work and disability, whether it be medical malpractice, personal injury or workers’ compensation or other litigation. One way I can help you is to design creative questions skillfully as part of the discovery process allowing a much deeper inquiry into the person’s “world of work”.

My goal is to inspire you even more to do what you love to do…ask questions, right!? And to be the best attorney you can be, double right!!

Depo

I’m sure questions you ask a deponent include those to: determine the nature of previous jobs; amount of money making; for whom s/he was working; why employment was terminated; and what qualifications and experience s/he had for the type of work s/he was doing [when injured].

You also question what work the individual has done, if any since the disabling condition, describing job duties; and determining previous employers and earnings.  Questions posed to encourage a deponent to detail what it is s/he can and cannot do are important, too.

These are all good questions from you yes, and critical of course (although kinda boring in my humble opinion!). Would it help you to have at your fingertips specifically designed questions (based on evidence to date) at deposition that will produce a much deeper inquiry into the person’s vocational background? I get excited when I think of sooo many other questions you could ask that really get into the meat of the matter!

meatAnd I don’t eat meat!

I’ve heard 90% of malpractice cases are settled before trial, and the deposition often is the turning point in those cases. I’d like to help you prepare questions that will lead to responses offering plenty of material for you to work on your case. My aim is to help you skin that cat in many ways and be ready for the most likely responses from your witness. I hope my help with your deposing techniques is valuable pre-trial as well as if the transcript is used for court.

Object

Plus, please keep in mind, I can definitely help you in more ways to better understand the individual’s disabling condition. A life care plan is perfect for that! Expert witness and testimony services are available as well.

I am here to help you help your client!

Call me ~ Amy Botkin at  515-282-7753 or shoot me an email message at vocresources@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you. Thank you for reading! Good luck with your legal work.

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.