Historically, pharmaceutical attorneys involved in mass torts rarely need to deal with catastrophic injuries that are diverse in nature and require extended individual attention. For example, in recent cases such as the Seroquel Litigation, there was a side effect of diabetes and in the case of the Actos Litigation, there was the link to causing bladder cancer. These are simply cases when it comes to damages because the range of problems are known and easily measured so they can be easily placed on a Matrix to fairly apportion damages among the injured.
Pudendal neuralgia is a catastrophic injury as disabling as paraplegia and it occurs in approximately 1-2 percent of claimants involved in the transvaginal mesh litigation. It has future care costs of at least $950,000 to $1.6 million typically, numbers derived at by creating several life care plans. Because mesh injuries are so individualized, there is no ‘Matrix’ that can provide for the diverse injures and future care cost for a pudendal nerve-injured women.
Smartly, the Plaintiff Steering Committees provided for various procedures that involve appeals and hearings before a Special Master that potentially allow for additional compensation beyond what is provided by the Matrix. But as we know from the numbers coming in, many settlements are nowhere close to providing the monies she will need for a lifetime of care due to her pelvic mesh injury.
From what I’ve seen, there are just a few attorneys who are investing in their pudendal injured woman’s case. No catastrophic injury attorney should goes into mediation with the Defendant companies without a life care plan that describes future medical and non-medical care and the cost of these services. A pudendal injured women is such a client and needs to be prepared by her representing attorney.
They need to request their attorney to obtain a life care plan from a physician certified in life care planning or at least understand the reason why they are not being afforded this service.
I have the staff available to meet the challenge of providing four to five hundred plans over the next two to five years. If the attorneys can’t afford to invest in the necessary life care plan I will accept a Letter of Protection from the attorney, but I can’t stress enough what a difference a thorough life care plan can make on the outcome of a case. I’ve seen it happen time and time again in other catastrophic injury cases.
A life care plan is a 30 to 50-page document that includes psychological testing, psychological interviews, physician interviews, medical records summary, and local costing of goods and services where the women resides. It is a huge project that takes several individuals with diverse skill sets and generally takes 30-50 hours to produce. It is the best protection to prepare these women for what’s ahead- a review with a Special Master and the various appeals and hearing ahead as well as potentially future individual litigation.
The plan is for this project to result in the compensation that affords injured women the standards of care going forward into the future within the Settlement and affords them the knowledge to truly make an informed decision in the future related to the adequacy of their particular Settlement Offer.
Simply, they will be part of roster of women who represent the most injured pudendal clients who are trial ready. Whatever settlement amount they accept is their business and is confidential among the parties involved. With the women’s consent, we can amass the names of women who reject their settlement offers so they and their attorneys, who ethically must continue their representation, understand that they are not alone and that they may become a deep and dangerous docket of women going forward in the future.
I am providing all services as a medical expert in pudendal neuralgia, Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Certified Life Care Planner, who remains a full-time physician practicing at an academic hospital. I am not their attorney.