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  • Writer's pictureJessica Brylo

Damages – Dig Deeper

When working up damages, dig deeper.

The client can no longer work. The damage is loss of income, right?

Yes, but it’s far more.

You may have guessed that the real damage is loss of self-esteem. Often, however, it doesn’t end there. You need to work with the client and ask three-levels deep:

“What did your work mean to you?” “It was my identity. I was the provider to my family.” “Why is that important?” “Because I wanted to provide stability.” “Why is that important?” “Because I grew up in an unstable household where we never knew where money was coming from or how to pay for food. I never wanted my kids to experience that.”

All of a sudden, the damages are no longer about lost income and even loss of self-worth falls short. It is now about failing to provide a different life for their children and worry about how the lack of stability will affect their mental wellbeing.

This applies to any damage: Inability to listen to music or garden. Inability to socialize or drive. It’s very different explaining that the plaintiff can no longer garden compared to stories about how gardening was an escape from abuse or a way to prove competency.

This preparation requires spending time with the client, delving deep, and asking the right questions.

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