Why You Need an Expert to Calculate Economic Damages
At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we help people with severe personal injuries recover financial compensation. We represent clients who have suffered injuries from motor vehicle collisions, medical malpractice, and work-related accidents. When it comes to calculating personal injuries, hiring an economist as an expert witness can help significantly. When you hire an expert who is experienced and competent in calculating economic and non-economic damages, you can increase the value of your Charlotte personal injury lawsuit.Juries Often Do Not Know How to Value Claims
Juries in personal injury lawsuits might know that the defendant should be held liable for his or her negligence, but they might not know how much to award the plaintiff. Without knowing a specific number to give the plaintiff for pain and suffering, members of the jury might take the amount of economic losses and simply multiply that amount by a certain percentage.
Or, when a jury sees that a plaintiff has suffered a small amount of economic loss, the jury will often award a similarly small amount for pain and suffering. The economic loss might not be properly quantified and assessed, making it difficult for the jury to award significant non-economic damages.What Do Damages Experts Do?
Economic experts often offer their expert testimony regarding the amount of money the plaintiff lost due to his or her injuries. The claimed money that the plaintiff lost will often include a loss in earning capacity, lost wages, lost business profits, as well as payments made to other people for services that they needed because of the personal injury.Experts Will Determine What Economic Losses are Recoverable
First, the plaintiff will determine all of the economic losses that the plaintiff suffered. Economic damages might be straightforward in simple car accident cases. In other cases, the damages can be extremely hard to calculate. For example, when the plaintiff is self-employed and must close his or her business because of the injury, experts can help you calculate how much the business would have been worth had the owner not been injured and needed to close it down.
Experts will go back and analyze the last five years of the plaintiff’s income tax returns and business records. Based on these records, the experts can determine whether or not the plaintiff endured a reduction in his or her income after the injury. When the injured person is self-employed or owns a business, estimating his or her future salary is an extremely important part of determining the total number of economic damages.Experts can Consult During the Discovery Process
In many cases, economic damages are always requested in discovery. The plaintiff’s nature, age, and extent of injuries will all come into play. When economic damages are significant, attorneys often spend a lot of time on the discovery, or investigating the facts of the case. Economic experts can help by analyzing the following documents:
- Social Security Earnings Records which can be obtained from the Social Security Administration with authorization from the plaintiff
- Income tax records
- Any other documentation of retirement benefits, or future pensions
- Balance sheets
- Profit and loss statements
- Accounts receivable and payable
- Income tax records
The plaintiff will need to exchange these documents with the defense, who will likely depose the plaintiff. Economic damages experts can also help the plaintiffs prepare depositions. For example, if the plaintiff claims that the injury caused a permanent disability, the expert can help analyze how much money the plaintiff is losing out because of the disability.Determine Deductions and Reductions
Even when the defense counsel agrees that the plaintiff’s personal injury would cause him a certain amount of losses per year for 20 years, the defense counsel likely will not agree to pay a lump sum settlement. Economic experts can help you determine how much you should negotiate on the total lump sum of damages.Economic Experts Play a Vital Role
Economic damages experts often play a vital role in personal injury cases. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we regularly consult with economic experts for the benefit of our clients. We have a network of experts who have the experience and knowledge to help you throughout the personal injury lawsuit.
The best time to speak with an attorney about your potential personal lawsuit is now. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we offer potential new clients a free initial consultation. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation today.