There are primarily three professionals who develop Life Care Plans for the severely disabled: Rehabilitation Counselors, Rehabilitation Nurses, and Physiatrists. While all professions have been trained to work with the catastrophically impaired, only the Rehabilitation Counselor’s expertise involves projecting the individual’s needs over their Life Expectancy.
In addition, most Life Care Plans should include an Employability Evaluation. Only Rehabilitation Counselors have experience in the placement of the disabled into competitive employment. This is extremely important in selecting an expert as the loss of earning capacity is the second largest dollar amount in a Life Care Plan. Another of the prime components of the Rehabilitation Counselor’s experience is case management and coordination of services. This involves knowledge of the equipment, technology, architectural renovations, and medical care required for a catastrophically injured person.
Rehabilitation Nurses and Physiatrists have experience in caring for the severely disabled. Reports from these medical professionals tend to calculate medications as the largest part of the Life Care Plan as compared to a Life Care Plan constructed by a Rehabilitation Counselor who knows homemaker, home attendant, or nursing care should make up 80 percent of the plan’s cost.
However, since the medical professionals have no vocational experience, an attorney will also have to retain a Vocational Expert to assess impairment of earning capacity.
An assessment of employability is an important part of the Life Care Plan. The Rehabilitation Expert is knowledgeable in the requirements for competitive job placement of the severely disabled. The Rehabilitation Expert has knowledge of the local and national job market, as well as the salaries for particular occupations in the region. Certainly, one should avoid an individual who has no practical rehabilitation experience in working with catastrophically injured persons; as theory and reality in the placement of the severely disabled are two different concepts.
Occupational Assessment Services has been involved as Vocational Expert/ Life Care Planners in some of the largest verdicts in the United States, including Escobar vs. the State of New Jersey which received a verdict of $166,000,000 and Verni vs. Armark which received a $105,000,000 verdict. Without the use of the OAS Life Care Planner/Vocational Expert comprehensive reports and services, these large verdicts may not have been achieved.
OAS is a Nationwide Vocational and Life Care Plan Expert service with offices in NJ, NY, FL, TX, CT, GA, NV, and CA. Life Care Plans offered by OAS always include an Employability Evaluation. To see how OAS Vocational Expert/Life Care Plan reports can assist you in documenting the damages in your Personal Injury cases, consult www.oasinc.org or call 800-292-1919 for a proposal containing the experts’ professional qualifications, fee schedule, and sample Life Care Plan.