If your child was born with devastating birth injuries, you may have been left without answers and the ability to know where to turn next. When this happens, the joy and anticipation that you initially felt at the birth of your child ends up being short lived, and now has transformed into a constant struggle to help your child receive the assistance he or she needs to get through each day. Moreover, your aspirations for a wonderful future filled with successes and accomplishments have turned into constant planning for the special accommodations and therapy necessary to help your child achieve the most basic of milestones.
In this view, the financial challenges you’re facing can be overwhelming. You know that you need to have an accurate grasp of the number of years that your child may live so that you can appropriately plan for him or her to have the assistance that they need for the rest of their life. This is a challenging analysis; however, there are answers. The professionals at Stern Law, PLLC can work with you to you to obtain the help that you need to take care of all of the needs of your child for a lifetime. Please call (800) 462-5772 for a free consultation.
Variables that affect life expectancy
Although some children with severe birth injuries may have a shortened life due to the extent of their injuries, many others lead long and productive lives. As a parent, you can work with doctors, medical professionals, therapists, and other caregivers to determine a plan that will enable your child to lead the best and longest life possible.
This may include the use of adaptive technology, special learning tools, therapy, modifications to the home and transportation and other individualized treatments and equipment to provide a long and fulfilling life. All of these extraordinary measures come with a financial burden and as such, it is important to have an understanding of your child’s life expectancy in order to ensure adequate funding.
As difficult as this is to consider, there are some guidelines that may help to shape the inquiry:
- Different types of impairments and key disabilities caused by the birth injury
- Severity of the impairments and disabilities
- Restrictions on mobility
- Esophageal or gastro-intestinal abnormalities or impairments that interfere with eating and digestion
- Seizure disorders
- Degree of impairment of cognitive function
- Partial or complete vision or hearing loss
- Function and degree of impairment of the respiratory system leading to breathing difficulties
Overall, these eight categories form the overview for the analysis of life expectancy and required assistance.
Maximizing your child’s life expectancy
There are many things that you can do as a parent to maximize life expectancy and your child’s quality of life:
- Be proactive – Meet with your child’s physicians and other medical professionals, and create a plan of action. There are many things that you can do to ease symptoms and enhance activities through therapy and assistive technologies. Getting an early start can make a significant difference.
- Start therapy as soon as possible – Beginning any prescribed therapy treatments early can improve overall outlook and impact the long-term quality of life enjoyed by your child. Despite the fact that circumstances have changed, there are many opportunities for joy and fulfilled dreams with the right treatment.
- Pay attention to your child’s ongoing health and symptoms – Complications can arise at any time. It is important to react to these changes immediately in order to minimize permanent impact on your child’s overall safety and well-being.
- Speak with an attorney experienced in handling birth injury litigation – When representing birth injury victims and their families, it is crucial for attorneys to provide them with the full scope of their legal and non-legal options. That is why I not only handle my clients’ lawsuits, but also provide them with access to government and insurance benefits, cutting edge medical treatments and therapies, and enforcing their special education rights to meet the needs of their special child.
- There are more than fifty million people living with some sort of disability in the United States – As medical science improves, some of these individuals may be able to anticipate lives still filled with great opportunities and enjoyment.
Calculating life expectancy
Although not an exact science, there are actuarial charts and other means of estimating the life expectancy for individuals with different disabilities. Although physicians can make estimates based on years of experience, actuaries use statistics to analyze risks and uncertainty to calculate financial outlays and term of life for insurance related purposes.
Estimating life expectancy is in part the summation of data concerning other individuals with similar disabilities, and how long those people lived with their disabilities. This number does mean that this is how long your child has to live as every individual is different, each and every impairment and disability responds to treatment and therapy in a unique manner, and science and medical treatment constantly evolve to introduce new techniques and therapies.
At the outset, almost every parent of a child with a birth injury wants to know how long his or her child will live. This is a fundamental gut reaction when presented with a child who has more challenges than the average person and who understandably wants as much time with their child as possible. Based on years of experience, a primary care physician will be able to provide an estimate.
Why estimate life expectancy?
The other purpose of calculating life expectancy may be to assist in determining damages during a birth injury litigation action. Although nobody wants to put a price on the expected life of his or her child, the fact is that caring for a child with cerebral palsy or another type of birth injury is a very intensive and expensive process. The calculation of years that a person with a birth injury can expect to live can set the amount of compensation to which a parent and child are entitled as the result of the negligence of a medical professional.
It is important to remember is that there is no going back once a determination of value has been made. The calculation during a legal proceeding will determine what you are awarded to care for your child and will have available to manage the impairment and disability for the remainder of your child’s life. It is critical to ensure that you have all the resources necessary for the best possible quality of life.
Arriving at a projected life expectancy involves a series of calculations based on current medical information, technology, and statistics. However, this is not the end of the equation. Medical science changes, technology evolves, and individuals are unique. Your child may outlive the projected life expectancy associated with his or her medical condition by many years. Overall, estimated life expectancy becomes a tool which helps to obtain all the benefits owed to your child for the tragic negligence that caused the birth injury.
For a free evaluation of your case, please call Stern Law, PLLC at (800) 462-5772 today. Our experienced legal professionals can discuss whether or not your child could be eligible for Lifetime Benefits and other forms of compensation.