Future Care Costs: The Make-Believe World of Plaintiffs’ Life Care Plans

When we are in pre-school, we learn the difference between reality and make-believe.  Little did we know that identifying differences between the real world and fantasy carries into litigation!

Because non-economic damages are capped in Maryland, plaintiffs’ lawyers have gotten creative with their life care plans to dramatically increase their potential recoveries.  One way to inflate life care plans is by including the “sticker price” of future care items, though only a fraction of that amount will ever be paid.

What can we on the defense do about it?

Maryland Rule 5-702(3) requires a sufficient factual basis for an expert’s opinion to be admissible.  That means plaintiffs’ life care planners have the burden to demonstrate the basis for their future care cost projections in their plans.

Public and private databases are resources that provide cost estimates for proposed care.  These estimates are based on real-world experiences of public and private third-party payors.  We use these databases to attack plaintiffs’ “sticker prices” for proposed care, proving they are not in line with the real prices of plaintiffs’ future care needs.  That way, the plaintiff will receive compensation for what will likely be paid and NOT an inflated amount.

Bottom Line:  We need to fight the “make-believe” future care costs we see in life care plans.  Maryland already recognizes that a plaintiff is only entitled to the amount actually paid for past medical expenses in medical malpractice cases.  It’s time to expand that rule to include future care expenses as well.

Interested in how we can fight plaintiffs’ life care plans? Contact us. We want to help.

John T. Sly

John T. Sly

John T. Sly is a trial attorney and partner at Waranch & Brown. His practice focuses on the aggressive defense of physicians, health care facilities, and other businesses throughout Maryland. He has successfully tried to verdict numerous high-dollar cases and has argued before state and federal appellate courts.
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