While an award of damages for pain and suffering is often subject to the whims of jurors and strict oversight by courts, an award for economic damages can be just as substantial if supported by comprehensive testimony from a qualified economist. Conducting an effective direct examination of an economist presents several challenges, such as maintaining the jury’s attention through the presentation of relatively dry subject matter, and conveying the complicated financial terms and calculations to lay jurors in a language that they can understand. With thorough preparation, an effective trial attorney can overcome these challenges and obtain a substantial verdict for his or her client.
Laying Proper Foundation
Prior to calling the economist, it is important to have a strong factual foundation for his testimony. For example, if the trial attorney is projecting loss of earnings based upon a total disability, medical testimony should be presented first in order to back up that position. While most doctors are qualified to determine whether their patient is disabled, the trial attorney may, in certain circumstances, need a vocational expert to make that determination.
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