Using Problems to Teach Quantitative Damages in a First Year Torts Class

63 Journal of Legal Education 113 (2013)

American University, WCL Research Paper No. 2013-20

19 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2013  

Paul Figley

American University - Washington College of Law

Date Written: August 30, 2013

Abstract

This article suggests an exercise that demonstrates to beginning law students the complexity of calculating damages in personal injury litigation. It shows the straight-forward method of calculating the lost future earnings of an injured working adult, and the greater complexity of calculating the lost future earnings of an injured child. It explains how to use life expectancy tables and work-life expectancy tables to calculate lost future income. It shows how to use future value tables to compute the amount of money needed today to replace a flow of income for a set period in the future. It provides examples of how to do these calculations.

The article also examines the different approaches the law uses to address inflation, punitive damages, and funds plaintiffs receive from other sources (the collateral source rule). It illustrates the open-ended nature of placing a value on a plaintiff’s pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life.

Keywords: tort damages, lost future income, life expectancy, work-life expectancy, future value tables, inflation, quantitative damages

Suggested Citation

Figley, Paul, Using Problems to Teach Quantitative Damages in a First Year Torts Class (August 30, 2013). 63 Journal of Legal Education 113 (2013); American University, WCL Research Paper No. 2013-20. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2318434

Paul Figley (Contact Author)

American University - Washington College of Law ( email )

4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

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