The Economist’s Role in Florida Wrongful Death Actions
Typically, Florida wrongful death actions involve some losses that are not easily measured. For that reason, it is critical that an attorney works in conjunction with a tenured, knowledgeable expert economist that can testify in support of economic damages claims. Specifically, the economist plays a vital role in valuing and understanding all that has been lost in a wrongful death case. For example, an economist can testify to the value of future earnings and homemaking services of the deceased. These valuations are difficult because no two people are exactly alike. Therefore, the damages that are recoverable in a wrongful death case vary from one to the next. It is likewise imperative to have an economist work on the wrongful death case because these cases typically require present-day valuations. Present day valuations are adjustments made to monies awarded for future losses due to things such as inflation, interest and other factors. Though reducing these awards to present value is not always complex, it can be complicated depending on what it is that is being valued, the level of difficulty in determining the appropriate interest rate(s), the methodology employed, and the duration of the economic loss. Naturally, a talented and experienced expert economist is important when there is opportunity for others in the field to offer a much different valuation based on alternative methodology. The wrongful death and personal injury attorneys at the Port Orange based law firm of Rue & Ziffra, P.A., work alongside expert economists that have the style and skill to effectively and persuasively explain damages to a jury. The Rue & Ziffra attorneys know when and who to hire and thereafter engage in thorough joint case preparation to maximize compensation for their clients in their time of need.
At the basic level, the expert economist is retained to develop a theory of damages, conduct a “but-for” analysis, generate models and spreadsheets based on appropriate data and information, and make the necessary adjustments. The “but-for” analysis essentially asks what would be the results if the event had not taken place. In order to generate models and spreadsheets, the economist examines the individual in terms of his or her prior occupation, industry, past and future outcomes, and market and economic conditions. When making the requisite adjustments, the economist considers things such as inflation, taxes, anticipated duration of loss, life expectancy, time value of money, and productivity.
In litigation, the economist can serve a variety of functions depending on the complexity of the case and the appropriate fee considerations. For example, during the discovery phase, the economist often prepares an expert report regarding economic losses, assists with data and document collection, review and production, evaluates the opposing party’s expert report, and helps the attorney develop a line of questioning for the opposition.
Thereafter, the economist frequently works with the attorney to present various economic damage claims and likewise evaluates any settlement offers that are submitted. During the trial phase, the expert economist naturally presents testimony based on the damages reports and exhibits and opines as to cross-examination techniques for the attorney to employ as to the opposing party’s expert.
Visit rueziffra.com to learn more about Rue &Ziffra’s practice areas, attorneys and impressive results. The attorneys at Rue & Ziffra have been handling wrongful death and personal injury cases for over thirty years. Rue & Ziffra attorneys work cooperatively with various expert witnesses to promote the best interests of their clients and to maximize recovery against the responsible party or parties.