Economica’s Assessments: Information required to complete a loss of dependency (fatal accident) assessment
We have outlined below the information that we typically require in order to complete a loss of dependency assessment for a fatal accident action.
☐ The deceased and his/her spouse’s date of birth, date of marriage, and dates of birth of their children (where applicable).
☐ The deceased’s date of death.
☐ The scheduled trial date, or the date which we should use as an “assumed settlement date.” A settlement date is necessary to provide a “point of reference” for our calculations.
☐ The ages at which we should assume that the children will be financially independent from their parents. Typically we assume age 18, but an older age may also be reasonable, especially if it is believed, for example, that a child will attend university.
☐ The deceased and the spouse’s income tax returns. Ideally, we would like to have the deceased’s tax returns from at least the last four or five years before the accident. For the spouse, we only require the most current tax return, if their income is steady. If, however, the spouse is expected to receive higher earnings in the future, we would like to know what that income path will be, since it could significantly increase the tax gross-up. At a minimum, we need estimates of the deceased’s and spouse’s employment income at the time of the accident.
☐ We would like to know what level of education the deceased had.
☐ Information concerning the deceased’s employment history. Specifically, we would like to know what jobs had been held, what the wages were with each employer, whether the deceased was part-time or full-time, amount of overtime worked, and so forth. Also, we would like information regarding employer-provided fringe benefits (including pension). Of course, this information is most important for the job(s) held immediately before and at the time of death.
☐ We would like information regarding what the deceased’s future employment plans had been. For example, were there plans to change jobs? Would the hours worked have increased or decreased? Were there any likely promotions in the future? Were there any plans for retirement? Any letters received from the deceased’s employer(s) relating to these issues would be useful.
☐ It is our standard procedure to incorporate average divorce and remarriage probabilities in our calculations unless we are requested to do otherwise. Please inform us if there is any reason to believe that the couple would have been more or less likely than average to divorce, or if the deceased’s spouse is now more or less likely than average to remarry.
☐ If there is a claim for a loss of household services which would have been provided by the deceased, it might be helpful to obtain from his/her spouse a list of the chores which the deceased provided and an estimate of the number of hours per week which would have been spent on those chores. Alternatively, we could rely on statistical evidence and assume that the deceased would have spent an average amount of time on household chores. Or we could rely on the evidence of a household services expert.
☐ If available, please provide portions of Examinations for Discovery transcripts which deal with any of the above topics.
To summarize, we require any information which relates to what the deceased’s career path (and income potential) would likely have been if the accident had not occurred.
For a printable version of this checklist, click here.