These past few months have been very busy for me, especially with the lawsuit. First, there was my deposition and all the preparation for that, then reading the transcript from my deposition (around 400 pages) and making "corrections", then I sat in on a doctor's deposition, then mediation, and all the preparation for that, and now reading through the depositions of the nurses, etc. It's all been quite time consuming.
Add to that, there is still a constant stream of "authorizations" to sign. These are coming from the defense and are to authorize release of information (medical and other). These "authos" are e-mailed to me by our attorney's office and then I have to print them out, sign them or have Bob sign them, scan them back into the computer and e-mail the signed copies back. This process can take all afternoon, if there are a lot of them, and it doesn't help that my computer is slow and my ancient printer keeps jamming.
As part of the preparation for mediation, our attorney hired a "settlement consultant" company (who knew there was such a thing?). So I've also been meeting/e-mailing/talking on the phone with the settlement guys. Part of their job is to figure out a monthly budget for Bob's care. And then to figure out what dollar amount we would need in a settlement to cover this monthly budget for his lifetime after all the attorney's fees, insurance liens, etc. are deducted.
I tell you, I am learning a lot about the legal process.
Count me as naive before, but I thought if a person won or settled a malpractice lawsuit, they were just handed a check!
Turns out, this is not the way it works. Instead, there is something called a "structured settlement" which involves the defense purchasing an annuity through an insurance company, which in turn provides the plaintiff (in our case, Bob) with a monthly allowance for the rest of his life. This allowance is monitored/handled by a trust fund and can only be used for his care and comfort.
Although we did not settle in mediation, there is still a chance to settle out of court. Fortunately, any talks of this sort can be handled on the phone or in writing, so we won't have to meet face to face with the defense attorney again--which is good, because, I tell you, I had a hard time controlling my temper/emotions in the face of all her lies and allegations. And although settling out of court may or may not happen, one must be prepared for this option.
So, in order to prepare --and believe me, I need to be prepared for this because the last thing I want is to be handed a $ amount and think, wow, that will work, only to find out, after everything's deducted, that Bob is getting shafted in the end-- I've been running through the numbers with the settlement guys and also on my own. And it's mind-boggling, to say the least. But I need to protect Bob and am willing to fight for him, if necessary. I think our attorney is surprised at how involved I want to be in all of this. And how stubborn I can be on certain issues!
One thing that I have learned is that I will get zip, zero, nil in this lawsuit -- so much for my pain and suffering. The problem is that any money I'd receive would count as an "asset" (any money held in a special needs trust is exempt) and Bob could lose his government benefits if our household "assets" are too high... jeepers...
Anyway, add to all of this my daily caregiving duties and that's what's been keeping me away from this blog and, tell the truth, I've had so many things I've wanted to blog about -- including fighting dumpster fires and being chased through the alleys by a helicopter! Maybe one day, I'll get to those exciting stories. Right now, I must leave you, to clean out the fireplace and haul in some wood so that we will have heat tonight, and then the therapist is due this afternoon and I still have to wash Bob's hair...
Never a dull moment, here at The Pink House!