The Role of the Economist in Significant Cases

The Role of the Economist in Significant Cases

The Role of the Economist in Significant Cases

One type of expert that we work with on a routine basis at Bordas & Bordas is an economist. What role does an economist play in civil litigation? Let’s use an example of a younger wage earner who is significantly injured to the point where he or she is unable to work.  Among the other types of damages that are available in that type of case is compensation for future lost wages, i.e., the money that person would have earned throughout their working lives if not for the wrongdoing of someone else.  This is where an economist comes in. With the assistance of our clients, their former employers and sometimes the IRS, we collect certain information about the injured person’s wages and benefits.  A lot of this information comes from tax returns, employee benefit plans and the like.  We also collect certain information about the clients themselves.  For example, the injured person’s age, education level and skill set is all taken into account.  We organize all of that information and send it off to an economist, who is an individual trained to take that data and determine how much the injured person would have made, in terms of income and benefits, had the person worked for a certain number of additional years.  The economist can factor in likely raises, cost of living adjustments and inflation to further refine the numbers.  At the end of the analysis, the economist can present the jury with a figure that represents the amount of money today that would compensate the injured person for the earnings they would have secured had they continued working.  Obviously, this money can make a huge difference to the family of the injured person, who would otherwise be left in a terrible situation. We’ve also had the privilege of representing businesses in suits against other companies.  In these cases, the economist’s work can be much more complex.  It requires an evidence-based projection of how the business would have done if it had not been interfered with.  The amount of data that goes into such calculations can be hard to collect, organize and find. At the end of the day, an economist can be a very important expert witness.  This is especially true in cases where non-economic damages are limited by law.  Fortunately at Bordas & Bordas, we are used to working with economists as part of our day-to-day work.