How You Could Benefit from Forensic Economics Testimony in Your Civil Litigation
Have you ever watched those late-night commercials from lawyers looking for clients who have used a medication for a class-action lawsuit? Maybe you went to their website and saw how they have garnered millions of dollars for clients. Did you ever wonder how the lawyers came up with the number for damages? It certainly isn’t arbitrary.
In fact, when it comes to the kind of litigation in many personal injury and class-action lawsuits, it can sometimes deal with damages that are expected to occur but haven’t yet. In these cases, lawyers rely on a specific kind of expert testimony: that of a forensic economist.
“A forensic economist’s testimony can go a long way towards proving a plaintiff has not only suffered their current injury, but they will suffer financially and medically in the future, and there’s a cost to that,” says an economic expert at the Sobel Tinari Economics Group.
A court, especially a jury, will want evidence that an injury caused x number of dollars in damages. Sure, the plaintiff getting up on the stand and testifying about how much they’ve paid and how much they will pay is good, but an economic expert can take that so much further. The defense attorney is likely going to have their own forensic economic expert working for them, so why not have one on your side?
When it comes to the testimony on damages, an economic expert’s testimony will prove invaluable. For instance, if a person makes $50,000 a year and becomes permanently disabled as a result of the accident, they might expect to be paid $50,000 per year for the remainder of their lives in a settlement. Here is where the expert testimony comes in. Based on longevity calculations, and also based on market calculations, the economic expert comes up with a number that will equal the $50,000 per year if invested soundly.
Expert economic testimony proved invaluable in the class-action litigation against the tobacco industry that occurred throughout the 1990s and is still somewhat ongoing. The economic experts created databases that allowed the plaintiffs to account for their future health care expenditures related to smoking while making allowances for other factors that might affect health care.
Going beyond the loss of employment income, a forensic economist also considers the loss of family services in an economic aspect. Family services can include all things done around the house from simple chores to providing for the guidance and care of others, especially minor children that are in the home. These losses can include both the loss of the physical capacity to perform those chores as well as the psychological faculty to perform the mentoring and guidance aspects of child-rearing.
The expert testimony of a forensic economist can be invaluable. They can calculate not only the current, more obvious and immediate losses that a plaintiff has suffered, but they can also calculate any future losses that a plaintiff is expected to endure. This can make coming to an acceptable settlement much, much easier and much more financially secure for the plaintiff than an arbitrary number.