TEA: Volume 6 (2004)

TEA.6.0 – 2004.  The Earnings Analyst  6: 132pp.  Special Issue.

Measuring Loss in Catastrophic Injury Cases (In Memory of David Toppino 1958 – 2003).

TEA.6.1 – Law, Economics and Science: The Interdisciplinary Nature of Measuring Loss in Catastrophic Injury Cases.  Kevin S. Marshall.  The role of the Forensic Economist is to estimate the reduction in earnings or earning capacity of the injured plaintiff, the reduction in non-market services or capacity to perform non-market services, and the costs of any future medical expenses or life care costs that have been necessitated by the injury. The role of the Vocational Expert is to determine the post-injury employment opportunities or earnings capacity of an injured plaintiff, given the plaintiff’s physical and emotional characteristics and educational background. And the role of the Life Care Planner is to translate the recommendations of medical doctors into an integrated plan for special life care of the plaintiff as necessitated by the plaintiff’s injury. In many cases, the Forensic Economist must rely on the opinions of the Vocational Expert and the Life Care Planner in estimating the present value of the plaintiff’s losses relating to the loss of earnings capacity, as well as future life care costs.

TEA.6.2 – The Role of a Forensic Economist in a Damage Assessment for Personal Injuries.  Thomas R. Ireland.  In any assessment of damages in a personal injury tort action, a forensic economist is called upon to convert the analysis of all other damage experts into dollar estimates. Economic experts cannot place dollar values on all damages identified by attorneys and other experts in personal injury tort actions. Some types of harms have no reliable market equivalents. Thus, economic experts cannot develop reliable projections of dollar values needed to address those harms. Economic experts are limited to making assessments of damage elements for which reasonable market equivalents can be found. “Market value” simply means “the sale price of the thing,” whether the “thing” is a good, service or asset. An economic expert can make projections if market equivalents for the losses or replacement needs of the injured person can be established in a manner sufficiently reliable and accurate to be admissible into evidence.

TEA.6.3The Vocational Expert in Forensic Rehabilitation: Translating Medical Impairment to Economic Loss.  Barbara A. Dunlap.  Given the potential monetary awards in civil litigation, the adversarial nature of the legal system, as well as the stringent admissibility criteria for expert testimony, vocational experts (VEs) are asked to offer useful opinions to the court to help unravel the complexities of determining whether the plaintiff has suffered a loss of earning capacity. The current article discusses the VE’s role in litigation, the vocational expert’s requisite training and credentials, the methodologies and process used in analyzing case data, as well as the need to cogently communicate opinions to the referral source, the forensic economist and the trier(s) of fact. This article is also designed to aid attorneys in articulating sound operational referral questions and to maximize the vocational expert’s usefulness in forensic matters.

TEA.6.4An Overview of the Field of Life Care Planning: A Comparison of Training Venues, Certification Processes, Current Training Needs and a Guide to Life Care Plan Development.  Penelope Caragonne.    Evidentiary standards governing the reliability of expert testimony in Daubert and Frye shape the litigation context in which many expert life care planners now work. Life care planning has emerged as a “growth industry” in litigation in the past fifteen (15) years. Training venues which teach the methods and processes associated with life care planning have proliferated as well from 1992 to the present. Annual conferences, forensic workshops, and professional associations have also developed to respond to needs for advanced education, upgraded training, certification, and development of frameworks that will standardize work performed by experts in this area. To date, no article or publication has attempted to summarize, describe, and compare the methods adopted by various training venues, and as well, compare the features of existing standards frameworks now available to life care planners. This article is designed to fill that gap.