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Using Experts to Assess Future Damages

Updated February 26, 2019 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

When determining damages in personal injury cases, juries can factor in possible lost future earnings and potential future expenses to calculate a figure that reflects the actual known damages in a case as well as probable future damages. These future damages can also be used to help determine an appropriate settlement amount for future pain and suffering.

But how are these future damages assessed?

Expert Witnesses Help Assess Future Damages

Determining future damages may involve the use of many expert witnesses, including some of the following.

Vocational Experts

These experts can help determine the future earning capacity and work ability of an injured party. They look at various factors of the future work capacity of the claimant, including physical and mental work requirements; national and local labor market trends, changes, and statistics; employment practices and expectations of past or potential employers; and vocational and job skill requirements and transferability issues.

Most of the time, a vocational expert will want to interview the client and also review tax filings, educational background, personnel files, and other documents to help get a picture of the injured party’s future income capacity.

Forensic Economists

These experts apply economic theories to the facts of a case to determine damages, both past and future. Most of them have a graduate degree in economics.

According to the National Association of Forensic Economists, topics within forensic economics include:

  1. Analysis of claims involving persons, workers, firms, or markets for evidence concerning damage liability
  2. Calculation of damages in personal and commercial litigation
  3. Development and use of generally accepted forensic economic methodologies and principles

Certified Life Care Planners

A life care planner typically is a nurse who is specially trained and certified in evaluating the costs of the future healthcare of a personal injury victim. Their evaluation methods work with the basic principle that funds need to be available to address an individual’s future medical needs, focusing on the prevention of complications and value-added outcomes.

According to the American Association of Nurse Life Care Planners, the practitioner of this discipline uses knowledge, judgment, and skills based on the principles of biological, physiological, behavioral, social, and holistic perspective of nursing science in the development of a life care plan.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of negligence, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW have more than thirty years of experience in personal injury cases and can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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