A spotlight on personal injury / fatal accident cases in light of Prince Philip’s car accident last week
Many were surprised that the Duke of Edinburgh is still driving at the age of 97 when news broke that his Land Rover was involved in an accident whilst he was out driving near the Sandringham Estate. The Duke was lucky to walk away from the accident unhurt and the driver and passenger of the other car involved only received hospital treatment for minor injuries.
What if the injuries are more serious?
Often those involved in car accidents aren’t so lucky, whilst in the most serious cases people are fatally injured or sustain life-changing injuries, many more suffer lesser injuries, such as whiplash. Where the injured parties are left unable to work for a period of time, there can be a loss of income whilst they recover.
Forensic accounting in personal injury cases
In cases where the injured party runs their own business, forensic accounting experts play a key role in assessing how much they have lost as a result of being unable to work. Whether we are instructed by the insurers for the party at fault or by the injured party themselves to review or challenge the insurers assessment of the loss, in the simplest terms we are instructed to assess what the injured party would have earned had they not been injured and unable to work.
Challenge of predicting the future
Whilst it is very sad when we become involved in fatal accident or personal injury cases, such cases often present us with interesting challenges to overcome. For example in the case of fatal accidents, like one we were involved with recently, we may be required to assess the profits that would likely have been generated by a business over a period of some 20-30 years. Whilst we can and do look back at how the business has performed in the past, this is not always the best indication of how the business would likely have performed in the future, especially when it is in its infancy, has experienced a period of rapid growth or there has been a fundamental change in operations in recent years.
Another challenge we often face is that many SME business owners don’t maintain very sophisticated financial records and rarely document formally their future plans and strategies for development of the business.
Whilst we always hope that personal injury and fatal accident cases won’t cross our desks very often, when they do, we are always ready to tackle the challenges they bring with the utmost professionalism and sensitivity.