Building the “House of Damages”
When a person suffers a serious personal injury, it may be obvious to those around him or her. The injured person may have suffered a spinal cord injury, no longer be able to walk or even move, and may be confined to a wheelchair. A person who has suffered a traumatic brain injury may no longer be able to function properly. Catastrophic injury may have resulted in the loss of one or more limbs.
These situations are terrible, and may inspire a great deal of sympathy and emotion. But even though that may be the case, if an injured person or the family of an injured person wants to seek damages in court, a foundation must be made that the injured person is indeed entitled to those damages.
Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. has devised a three-step method for constructing a solid foundation for a “House of Damages.” The “House of Damages” must have three components:
- The “Foundation:” First a qualified, licensed physician must establish the extent of the person’s injuries from a medical perspective by explaining the medical facts of the case and the resultant Residual Functional Capacity.
- The “Frame:” Next, a vocational expert must further establish that the injured person’s capacity to earn money or maintain employment has been diminished or eliminated by the injury. A vocational expert can also testify as to the future employability of the injured person, as well as to extenuating circumstances which may affect the case such as employment trends and job market statistics.
- The “Roof:” Finally, an economist should be brought before the jury to testify to factors such as the economic environment present when the injury occurred and expectations for the total future losses based on economic data. Some states require that future earnings be calculated into a “present value” (in dollars), and economists are qualified to perform these types of calculations.
While it may not be a legal requirement to include all of these experts witnesses in a case of severe permanent injury , it is advisable to do so. Without the testimony of a physician, a vocational expert, and an economist, the jury can only consider the claims of the injured person against any argument put forth by the defendant (corporation, insurance company, private party, etc.). If the “foundation,” the “frame,” or the “roof are not part of the “House of Damages,” the “house” will not stand.
Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS) is one of the top companies providing vocational expert and life care planning services for injured persons who have sustained serious permanent injuries in the United States. We have extensive experience creating life care plans for plaintiffs who have suffered catastrophic injuries. Contact OAS at 800-292-1919 to discuss how we can help with your case.