Personal economic damages engagements involve a primary issue: What would the individual have earned “but for” the injury, death, or incident?  The lost earnings element is broadly considered, including past and present salaries, wages and fringe benefits.  In addition, value associated with household services provided to the family is considered.  Consideration is also given to past and present medical and rehabilitation expenses.


A key component of the calculation of economic damages is the period of loss, considering worklife expectancy for earnings, and life expectancy for household services.  Salary growth rates and discount rates are applied.


Lost wages, particularly in wrongful death cases, are greatly influenced by educational attainment.  Other demographic characteristics to be considered are:

  • Sex
  • Race
  • Marital status
  • Number of dependents

 Finally, jurisdictional rules must be considered for a complete assessment of damages.  Such rules include:

  • Legal interest applied to past losses
  • Jurisdiction: Federal or State
  • Applicable law
  • Key dates surrounding the incident


The Expert Witness should be qualified by training and experience to perform the calculation of economic damages. Professional knowledge of compensation issues, fringe benefits, statistics, present value calculations sampling techniques and related software applications are essential for an effective Expert Witness.  Finally, the Expert Witness should have the presentation skills to effectively explain the elements of the calculation and the conclusions to the trier of fact.