We recently corresponded with Edmund H. Mantell, Ph.D., a consulting economist that works with injury attorneys to assess and quantify economic damages sustained by their injured clients. Dr. Mantell’s expertise in this area spans the business and academic worlds. A noted thought leader and trial witness, his insight is a must-read for Connecticut injured people and their attorneys.
What is your professional background?
I hold a Ph.D. in Economics and Finance, awarded by the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, I hold the position of full Professor of Finance and Economics at the Pace University Lubin School of Business, New York, N.Y. My academic duties consist of teaching courses in finance and economics to MBA candidates.
What are the types of damages that can be attributed to a personal injury claim?
There are several types of damages as a consequence of a personal injury. These include:
1. Loss of earnings from the date of injury to the present date as well as loss of future earning capacity.
2. Loss of employer-provided fringe benefits including loss of health insurance benefits, loss of future pension benefits, loss of employer contributions to a 401(k) Plan, loss of employer-subsidized education, loss of employment expense account, etc.
3. Loss of the monetary value of the routine household services an injured plaintiff is unable to perform.
4. Future costs of purchasing the professional services (e.g., physicians, physical therapists, etc.) and the goods and commodities ( e.g., pharmaceuticals, wheelchairs, etc.) a disabled plaintiff will require. I work from a Life Care Plan prepared by qualified professionals.
5. Future earnings lost by an employment-disabled infant.
In a wrongful death case, I calculate the economic losses sustained by the survivors of the decedent. I calculate the after-tax losses of earnings if required by the jurisdiction in which the case is pending. Finally, I calculate the discounted future values of the economic losses, if required by the jurisdiction in which the case is pending.
How do you assist personal injury attorneys to establish damages suffered by their clients?
1. I conduct a preliminary discussion with the attorney to identify the distinct component of the economic damages recoverable in the jurisdiction where the case is pending.
2. I provide attorneys with a clearly written description of the specific documents and other information I require.
3. I prepare a clearly written report which displays my assumptions and the citations to governmental and other sources I rely on to support my calculations of economic damages.
4. I discuss with the attorney any aspect of my report.
What can an injured person do to help their attorney or the economic expert support a claim for economic damages?
The injured person should promptly send the documents requested by the attorney e.g., W-2 statements, the Summary Plan Description of the Pension Fund, collective bargaining agreements (where applicable), employment contracts, etc. In addition, the injured person should cooperate when asked to participate in an interview with the economic expert.
What aspects of my profession give me the greatest satisfaction?
I enjoy teaching; my attitude explains why I work as a professor at a university. A big part of my work as an economic expert in litigation consists of teaching juries, and often judges, about the methodology for calculating economic losses.
Publisher’s note: If you have been involved in a serious accident that has disrupted your activities of daily living, then you should contact an experienced Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney. For any further questions, please contact us.