The Element of Damages Most Feared by the Defense? Economic Damages

The Element of Damages Most Feared by the Defense? Economic Damages By Stavros Sitinas Economic damages include all damages other than those awarded for pain and suffering and emotional distress.

These include lost:

  • Wages
  • Bonuses

  • Overtime pay

  • Expected raises
  • Benefits and pension

Note: Union members typically enjoy generous benefit packages, all of which can be affected if they are injured and unable to work again in their chosen profession.

To determine the extent of economic damages, a trial lawyer will hire an economist to conduct an assessment as to how much is compensable. The economist will review the following:

  • Plaintiff’s tax returns for several years prior to the accident
  • Union contract (if the plaintiff was a member of a union)
  • The medical records indicating that his client will likely never work again due to the injury

Defendants are often fearful of this analysis because the ultimate figure provided by the economist is generally accurate and largely unimpeachable. Even if the defendant pays to hire their own economist, his or her economic damages figure rarely differs greatly from that given by the plaintiff’s economist. However, it is more likely the defense would argue that this person would return to work — in either the same field or something similar.

Jurors usually prefer awarding economic damages, because the guesswork of how much should be awarded has largely been taken out of the process. In comparison, deciding how much to award a plaintiff for pain and suffering is much more difficult for a jury to calculate, because the issues involved are often much more subjective.

If you have been injured in an accident, it is very important to hire an attorney who is well versed in maximizing the value of your case by fully exploring the value of the economic damages you may be awarded – not just the amount of pain and suffering caused by the accident.

Misconceptions About Frivolous Lawsuits And The McDonald’s “Hot Coffee” Case  Stavros E. Sitinas, Esq.
(212) 539-1800

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