Traditionally (well from the 1990’s) forensic accountants were used to present the trickier salary and profits losses for injured Claimants and fatality claims as Expert Witnesses. However, over ‘recent’ years – well around 10 in my experience, so not so recent! I have seen forensic accountants assisting litigators in an advisory capacity (as their agent) develop into a main core activity.
This shift from Witness to Adviser is not because the complexities of financial losses have changed. The need for skilled, financially dextrous, accountants (who appreciate the litigation process, ‘rules’ of engagement and objectives of the parties) remain. However, faced with mounting costs pressures and active case management from the courts, the way claims are formulated and presented for loss quantum has changed.
So, the use of the forensic accountant as an Expert Adviser has grown. Just how far can ‘White Labelling’ take you with helping to reach settlement? Let’s take a look at some case studies.
Case A – Child injured in collision of their mother’s car, developed serious psychological injury, with multiple personality disorder.
Issue: Child reaching majority and Defendant keen to settle. Question was how to approach earnings and pension losses?
Solution: We prepared loss quantum calculations in a Quantum Pack – modelling earnings and pension from a career in teaching (child A’s mother had been a teacher).
- Part/time earnings whilst studying for a degree
- Completes degree and pursues career in secondary school teaching
- Pay scales develop from NQ to Department Head, by age 32
- Earnings: Past £70k Future £1.1m Pension Loss (net of contributions) £0.5m
Supplemented with models of teaching career variations.
Outcome: Case settled at RTM – circa £ o/s
Case B – Teenager with active interest in sports, considering degrees in Physiotherapy and Police Sciences. Injured and left with reduced physical abilities resulting in her changing her career plans.
Issue: Again the Defendant was keen to enter into settlement discussions and an early quantifications of damages was needed, exploring the claimant’s alterative career trajectory.
Solution: We prepared a Quantum Pack modelling the whole career Earnings and Pension finances comparing – ‘but for’ careers as a Police Officer or Physiotherapist -Vs- ‘actual’ career as CSI Police Support civilian employee.
- 9 schedule Quantum Pack
- Summary chart
- Losses & multipliers
- Earnings & Pension loss calcs for each scenario
- Values of Police Officer career £1.924m / NHS Physiotherapist career £1.928m Vs Police Support career £1.477m
Outcome: Case settled at RTM – circa £ o/s
Case C – Girl injured and unable to complete her studies and pursue a full-time career with the NHS. Employment Experts presented CPR Expert Opinion reports on possible careers and earnings.
Issue: The employment expert reports didn’t address earnings loss quantum in full neither did they quantify pension loss.
Solution: We were instructed to ‘bridge the gap’ between some good employment expert evidence and the need for a ‘nailed down’ earnings and pension loss quantum schedule to enable settlement discussions to proceed. We took instructions to ‘help with the numbers’ in the leadup to a JSM covering:
- Design and built a Quantum Pack for counsel to use in negotiations
- Quantum Pack was based on modelling 3 X ‘but for’ career scenarios Vs 3 X ‘actual’ career scenarios and applying % chances of each scenario (opined by the employment expert)
Outcome: This case settled at RTM circa £
Typically, we will condense the many pages of assumptions, financial data & calculations into a diagrammatical summary. In addition, and as required, to assist counsel, we can produce multiple versions of the Quantum Pack, based on sets of gradated assumptions.
A smart approach whether the case is straightforward or more complex
As you can see, whilst White Labelling of Earnings/Profits, Pensions & Other Financial Benefits losses can be deployed in relatively straightforward loss situations, it can be deployed, effectively, in high value, complex, injury claims.
Providing a range of assumptions to assist with negotiation
In fact, presenting multiple alternative loss quanta, that are based on a range of assumptions can give counsel an enviable platform from which to negotiate settlement.
These assumptions could be about career, advancement, job changes, performance and promotion for the employed claimant. Or business performance, development and changes for the trader/business claimant.
White labelling – your questions answered!
Q. Are the fees recoverable?
A. The use of our expert financial skills saves solicitor/counsel time-costs. As an Agent’s cost, our fees can be recovered as part of a solicitor’s profit costs.
Q, What about permission for an accountant’s report?
- Permission for an accountant’s report is not required but the essential ‘nuts and bolts’ of the Earnings and Pension loss calculations and outcome, along with a range of alternative outcomes, to assist with settlement negotiations, can be obtained and the costs recovered.
Q. Can you interview our client?
A. Yes we can interview your client (the Claimant) remotely. We are used to meeting by video conference, Zoom, Teams etc. and were working remotely before the pandemic hit.
Q. When do we have to pay you?
A. We have deferred payment terms to suit your timeframes.
We are always happy to give initial thoughts & advice on evidence and approach to loss quantum. Contact us today Richard@FormbyForensics.co.uk or tel. 01761- 437972
Formby Forensic Services Personal, friendly, service – years of experience – prompt attention and turnaround