When to Hire an Economist in a Personal Injury Case?
Determining economic loss is one of the most essential things you must do in a personal injury case. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for deciding if you should hire an economist to evaluate, estimate, and help determine your economic loss after an accident.
Some cases will not require an expert economist, but many will, especially if you are severely injured and have catastrophic financial loss. A good rule of thumb on when to hire an economist is to look at the severity of the case and injuries. However, discussing the benefits with your attorney is the best way to know if you should invest in an economist for your case.
What Is an Economist?
An economist has professional, extensive, and expert knowledge of economic analysis. They will assess your case and provide expert opinions and testimony concerning your monetary damages. Economists can provide expert testimony in both personal injury and wrongful death cases. Economic damages in a personal injury case represent tangible monetary losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. This is distinguishable from non-economic damages—which are less tangible and not related to actual financial loss. An example of non-economic damages would be compensation for your pain and suffering.
What Can an Economist Do for a Personal Injury Case?
An economist’s job is to evaluate the full scope of an accident victim’s economic loss. One of the most important things they can do for your case is to calculate anticipated future loss based on your injury.
Identify Recoverable Losses
Most accident victims will experience some extent of financial loss due to their injuries. Typically, the more severe the injury, the more economic loss. Certain losses are easier to calculate. For instance, past medical bills are easy to quantify because you simply need to add up receipts, invoices, and pay stubs. However, anticipating and calculating anticipated future medical expenses is more challenging because it is less exact and can vary.
In situations with long-term treatment and extended periods of missed work, an economist can help determine exactly how much a victim lost and is expected to lose in the future.
Assist in the Discovery Process
Your attorney may recommend consulting with an economist during the discovery phase of your case. To fully understand your financial losses, they will analyze your earnings, tax records, income sources, and more.
Provide Definitive Proof
In any personal injury case, insurance carriers, defendants, and the court will likely not accept the plaintiff’s accounting of economic loss. An economist will provide the expert proof required to prove your damages.
Projecting future economic losses can be complex and is often best left to the experts.
Hiring an economist is not necessary for every case, but it can be most important when dealing with tragic accidents and significant economic losses. Economists are educated and trained to use specific tools to accurately account for an accident victim’s financial loss. Economists will use statistics and mathematical formulas to calculate inflation, growth rates, etc.
An economist can calculate and forecast future losses and anticipated expenses in a way that most lay witnesses cannot. For this reason, an economist expert for a personal injury case can be a wise investment, especially when it involves a permanent or long-term disability.
Consult your lawyer to determine whether an economist is necessary for your case.
Personal Injury Attorneys
At Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C., we have dedicated our career to helping accident victims seek the justice and financial compensation they deserve. We will thoroughly review your case and determine if it can benefit from hiring an economist. Our goal is to see you recover the most compensation possible. Contact us for a free consultation.
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