This case involves a 35 year old male firefighter who was seriously injured while fighting a large building fire in Minneapolis. During the fire, the firefighter was scaling a ladder when he fell nearly 15 feet to the street below, suffering a severe back injury which rendered him paraplegic. As a result of his injuries, the firefighter was unable to continue his career, and a forensic economist was sought to determine the impact of his lost salary and benefits.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please briefly describe what sources/methods you might use to calculate loss of benefits for a firefighter.
- 2. Have you calculated loss of benefits/earnings in a similar case?
Expert Witness Response E-146580
Loss of earnings, or in some states earnings capacity, as well as loss of fringe benefits are assessed based on historical earnings, expected growth in earnings/paygrades/inflation, and benchmarks from compensation surveys and data compiled by trade/occupational groups as well as the U.S. Department of Labor. Fringe benefits for a figherfighter will typically include paid vacation days, sick leave with pay, employer contributions for medical insurance/prescription/dental/vision, annuity funds, deferred compensation plan, 401K, 403b and or I.R.A retirement employer contributions. In addition, losses may include retirement income based on last salary after years of service. Loss of social security benefits would also be considered using benefit calculators and contributions. I routinely prepare claims of this nature across the whole spectrum of employment. In the course of my calculations, I consider any particularities related to the fire department, union, or pension system involved based on review of historical earnings record, interviews (individual/employer), benefit, union or pension plan documents and website benefit information specific to this individual’s employment. I have prepared hundreds of claims over the course of my career and this has been an area of specialty for 20 years.