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Category: Economic Damages

We have distilled decades of experience at the intersection of law, business and finance into a suite of articles to help our clients make sense of business valuation, forensic accounting, and litigation support. Please visit our site regularly for our latest content.

Calculating Economic Damages

Posted in Economic Damages, on Oct 2014, By: Mark S. Gottlieb

In December 2013, Tippi Hedren, star of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 “The Birds,” received good news. After six years of litigation over an injury on the set of “Fashion House,” Hedren received a $1.5 million judgment in her favor, of which $653,708 was Hedren’s calculated lost earnings. Lost earnings must be computed in cases of personal injury, wrongful death, and employment discrimination. Forensic accountants are often brought on to accurately determine these damages. When beginning to figure losses, a worklife expectancy must first be determined. The worklife of a person varies according to age, ethnicity, gender, and education level. Once a worklife expectancy has been determined, potential lost earnings can begin to be calculated. There are two types of earnings which can be calculated: Unimpaired earnings: These are estimated earnings a claimant would receive if the incident had never happened. Impaired earnings: These are any potential actual earnings a claimant will receive if able to work in a limited capacity. If a claimant is deceased, or wholly unable to work, only unimpaired earnings will be calculated. This is done by looking at such measures as historical earnings, likelihood of future advancement, and comparable earnings of people in the same industry, among other criterion. While an individual is employed there are other assets besides base wages. These fringe benefits are sometimes employer contributions to social security, retirement plans, paid time off, and insurance premiums. These too are added to the economic losses of a claimant. Other sources of income can be affected […]


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In a recent meeting with some of my colleagues in the legal community, the question came up: Why is the analysis of lost profits deferred until late in the litigation process? One colleague is of the opinion that often the financial issues associated with damages will sometimes take a back seat to liability issues because attorneys will frequently tend to focus on the legal procedures and on discovery procedures. But based on my 20+ years experience in forensic accounting, business valuation and expert testimony, early involvement by the financial expert is often crucial to an effective analysis in a lost profits case—and ensures that all aspects of the lost profits case are covered.Forensic experts are typically involved in complex commercial litigation where economic damages or lost profits are at issue. They’re also involved when a case requires forensic accounting skills such as in a fraud or embezzlement case or the value of a business is at issue such as in a shareholder dispute or marital dissolution. The forensic expert may also be called upon to explain an accounting, tax or financial issue to the judge or jury. Forensic experts often are also hired by attorneys to provide expert testimony as litigation support consultants. The expert witness can play a variety of roles in lost profits cases including performing damage calculations to coordinating complex research and analysis and creating case strategies. To do this, the forensic expert must select an approach in the pretrial planning phase that helps develop and integrate […]


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