The “RIGHT” life care planner can make or break your personal injury case

The “RIGHT” life care planner can make or break your personal injury case

Have you ever faced the unfortunate situation where your “trusted” life care planner constructs a future needs report for your client only for you to realize that their report was not tailored toward the nuances of a personal injury case?

This can be devastating to your case as you’ve just invested thousands of dollars, for its value to be diminished or even dismissed as irrelevant.

We see this happen all too often in personal injury cases due to the simple misconception that all life care planners are created equal. While all life care planners are indeed certified, many are not familiar or trained in personal injury specific life care plans and instead work primarily in elder care cases, where they develop a strategy that helps define a senior’s wishes and assists caregivers / family in handling the physical, personal, and financial affairs of their aging process. This type of life care plan is MUCH different than a custom life care plan tailored towards your client who has impairments and disabilities that they sustained in an automobile accident.

If you think about it, you wouldn’t hire a general surgeon to perform an ACL reconstruction surgery on your knee, it’s much wiser to hire a “knee-specific” orthopedic surgeon that works on knees on a daily basis.

The same holds true with life care plans. Personal injury tailored life care planners have a very good understanding of how to cost out injury / trauma specific treatments – whether those be physical therapy, medial branch blocks, radiofrequency ablation procedures, orthopedic surgery; etc. Costing out such therapies / procedures is a sub-specialty in and of itself that takes an expert to not only accurately predict future impairments and disabilities but also to put the correct price tag on those recommendations. I’ve seen many life care planners struggle with understanding how to do this job accurately. Inaccurate life care plans are not taken seriously and set that life care planner up to be dismissed as an expert in your case.

Don’t settle for a “general” life care planner for your cases. Hire an expert personal injury specific life care planner that will help educate plaintiff / defense counsel, and the insurance company. At Injury Reporting Consultants, we specialize in expert reports specifically for personal injury cases such as functional capacity evaluations, vocational and earning capacity evaluations, medical cost projections, and life care plans that effectively communicate to all parties’ the client’s future needs in an accurate and well thought out manner. We believe that a well-crafted life care plan utilizes effective communication and effective communication is key to solving problems.

Dr. Brad Poppie has over 20 years of personal injury experience not only as a treating doctor, but as an expert witness in trial.  If you have a client that you would like to discuss their need for an expert report, please contact directly at 720-982-2000 or email: brad@injuryreportingconsultants.com

Understanding Complex Cases

Understanding Complex Cases

If you’re in the personal injury law world, you’re probably well aware of the many complexities a personal injury case can present. When preparing these cases for an insurance company to evaluate, it’s common to be thrown a curveball or two along the way. I often hear from a lot of attorneys spending late nights trying to work through these difficulties and navigate the intricacies of their cases. Here are a few common potential case killers.

  1. Pre-existing conditions: When clients have pre-existing condition(s), you can generally expect that they’ll have an impact on how an insurance company views the case. Insurance companies will want to analyze whether the client’s current state, impairments, and disabilities are in fact caused by the collision versus something that happened in the past.
  2. Gaps in treatment: It’s very common for clients to stray from a treating practitioner’s treatment plan, recommended frequency or treatment duration. This could be the result of one of life’s many complexities, but the insurance company views this as evidence that the client is not hurt due to their lack of compliance.
  3. Prior felonies / incarceration: From time to time this sensitive topic arises within a handful of cases. Many times, embarrassed clients leave past legal disputes out of an attorney’s initial intake form. When this happens, it can be surprising to the plaintiff attorney when opposing counsel brings this to their attention late in the litigation process.

These are only a few of many challenges that can complicate a personal injury case.

I’ve often been asked to produce an expert report and have discovered these issues as well as many others including poor documentation, inadequate communication, case management issues; etc.

When things go awry during the discovery process, the question for an attorney becomes, “What tools do I have accessible to help navigate these roadblocks?” The answer is consulting with the experts to help you along the way.

IRC is here to help you fully understand your case and put your mind at ease knowing that your damages reports are valid and objectively reliable in order to help settle your case in a timely manner.

As a treating doctor specializing in personal injury for over 20 years, I understand the pain-points your case can face and am here to help take the burden off of your shoulders, build out your damages reports and help you fully understand the complexities of your case.

As injury experts, you can trust us to take the wheel and help make your next personal injury case a smooth one.

At Injury Reporting Consultants, we specialize in providing expert reports such as functional capacity evaluations, vocational and earning capacity evaluations, medical cost projections, and life care plans that will support your legal documents in order to help obtain a swift and fair settlement.

Dr. Brad Poppie has over 20 years of personal injury experience not only as a treating doctor but as an expert witness in trial.  If you have a client that you would like to discuss their need for an expert report, please contact me directly at 720-982-2000 or email me at: brad@injuryreportingconsultants.com

Sincerely,

Dr. Brad Poppie, DPT, CLCP, CFCE, CSCS  
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Life Care Planner
Medical Cost Projection Specialist 
Certified Functional Capacity Evaluator
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Are positive imaging results alone enough to get the settlement you need?

Are positive imaging results alone enough to get the settlement you need?

Previously, when a lumbar MRI came back positive for a bulging disc or a flexion / extension x-ray in the cervical spine showed some degree of instability, a policy limit settlement was not impossible to achieve.  After all, those structural problems are deemed lifelong impairments, right?  

Well, the answer may be more complex that you might first think, and scenario based. Yes, those structural damages are certainly objective in nature and help educate both the plaintiff and defense to the degree of injury that was caused. However, how does the documented objective injury affect someone’s daily life? How does the lumbar disc herniation warrant a policy limits settlement?

In personal injury cases today, having a positive lumbar bulging disc isn’t necessarily the icing on the cake to ensure a large settlement. In fact, research has shown that 30% of individuals in their 30’s had a bulging disc, 60% of those in their 50’s had bulging discs, and 84% of those in their 80’s had a bulging disc. Overall, 40-50% of people have some degree of positive findings on their MRI. 

The research shows that while MRI’s certainly have their place in diagnosing spinal pathology, they fall short in correlating what is found on your MRI and if those positive findings are pain generators; not to mention how those findings will affect the clients’ livelihood. A very high percentage of lower back pain is non-specific – meaning it is difficult to pinpoint the exact pain generator. Typically, pain is derived from a multitude of different factors. 

So, you might be asking, “if positive findings on diagnostic tests are no longer the ace in the hole for a slam dunk settlement, what is?” The answer is a combination of an excellent read or interpretation of the MRI as well as a Functional Capacity Evaluation to help the opposing side understand how the lumbar pathological condition affects their client’s daily life – more specifically, their ability to perform vocational duties, ADL’s, and leisure activities. 

Without the Functional Capacity Evaluation to help objectively showcase HOW the pathological conditions in their lower back are affecting their lives, the insurance company will always argue that many people live perfectly normal and pain-free lives while having positive spinal MRI findings. 

At Injury Reporting Consultants, we specialize in providing expert reports such as functional capacity evaluations, vocational and earning capacity evaluations, medical cost projections, and life care plans that will support your legal documents in order to help obtain a swift and fair settlement.      

Dr. Brad Poppie has over 20 years of personal injury experience not only as a treating doctor, but as an expert witness in trial.  If you have a client that you would like to discuss their need for an expert report, please contact directly at 720-982-2000 or email: brad@injuryreportingconsultants.com

Dos and don’ts for creating a team of forensic experts for personal injury cases

Dos and don’ts for creating a team of forensic experts for personal injury cases

Today, more than ever, building a great team of experts is paramount to successfully obtaining a fair settlement. The old school mentality of going it alone  is no longer an adequate course of action due to the fast-paced nature and evolution of how personal injury cases are evaluated by insurance companies.

Attorneys working today must understand that expanding their reach and collaborating with other professionals will not only help them avoid roadblocks – but also streamline their case.

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for building capacity through collaboration with forensic experts while building a solid case:

DO create a stellar team made up of  legal, medical, and rehabilitative experts. This helps to provide a well-rounded and solid approach when dealing with the complex injuries that your firm works with

DO develop this “A-team” of experts early in the legal process and work together to develop a clear timeline of needs and deliverables so that an informative and professional damages package can be submitted to the insurance company on time.

DON’T wait until the last minute or when disclosures are due to get your “A-team” working. By waiting, crucial medical/rehabilitative recommendations may not be assessed due to a collapsed timeline as your experts scramble to provide correct essential information pertaining to your client.

And lastly, DO ask questions! Experts, like us, are here to help. If you have a client whose case isn’t straightforward or you’re needing to provide more objective evidence of injury, please don’t hesitate to call.

If you’re interested in creating an “A-Team,”  we are here to provide the medical and rehabilitative guidance that will help you steer your team and case to success

At Injury Reporting Consultants, we specialize in providing expert reports such as functional capacity evaluations, vocational and earning capacity evaluations, medical cost projections, and life care plans that will support your legal documents in order to help obtain a swift and fair settlement.

How to WIN the hearts of a jury

How to WIN the hearts of a jury

I often have attorneys call and ask, “How do we help the jury fully understand the extent of our client’s injuries and how their impairments affect their life?”  My answer is always the same, “They won’t understand until there is a doctor on the stand that can translate medical terminology into layman’s terms, and how those terms have actually disabled their life.”

The complex linguistic nature of medical jargon has always been the “Achilles’ heel” of an injury case. When insurance companies and juries don’t understand the client’s medical records or the extent of an injury there can be a huge delta between the perception of the injury and how the injury has actually affected the client’s livelihood. Without a complete, understandable explanation of how the client’s impairments and disabilities affect their ability to perform vocational tasks, activities of daily living, and leisure activities, a case can easily become deadlocked. If this happens, any unnecessary stalls cause the client to suffer.

Our job at Injury Reporting Consultants is to provide understandable expert reports and to help educate attorneys, both plaintiff and defense, to understand medical jargon and break it down into simple terms that insurance adjusters and a jury can easily understand.

I, Dr. Brad Poppie, have 20 years of personal injury experience not only as a treating doctor but as an expert witness in trial. If you have a client that may be a candidate for IRC services, please contact me directly at 720-982-2000 or email me at: brad@injuryreportingconsultants.com 

When do you need a strong rebuttal report?

When do you need a strong rebuttal report?

In personal injury cases, one of the hardest things to prove to opposing counsel or the insurance company is how your client’s injuries affect their daily life – more specifically their ability to perform work-related tasks, activities of daily living, or leisure activities. 

Many times opposing counsel will have an Independent Medical Examination doctor evaluate your client only to produce a report stating that your client is perfectly fine and that they should have no problem whatsoever performing all of their life’s duties based on a 5-minute physical examination.

An examination of this length does not give the doctor any indication of how the client’s collision truly affects their livelihood and therefore gives the insurance company false data regarding the client’s status. 

At Injury Reporting Consultants, we specialize in combating such unfairly weighted reports that pigeonhole your client as a malingerer or a symptom magnifier. Our reports are designed to help both parties and the insurance company understand the client’s true impairments and disabilities from their collision and not just if they can touch their toes or raise their arms over their head.  If you would like support in developing a rebuttal report, our team is here for you. We can be reached at 720-982-2000 or at brad@injuryreportingconsultants.com.