3 Skills Lawyers Look for in a Vocational Expert

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Vocational expert

Vocational experts are used as witnesses in various fields of law. Whether it is for Social Security, Worker’s Compensation, or something else, the expert witness is a key part of any hearing.

The key to what a vocational expert brings to the table is his or her ability to assess damages in a case – the reasonable cost for a person’s injuries or disability.  

Indeed, a vocational expert witness can be used for myriad cases, including:

1. Medical malpractice
2. Personal injury
3. Social Security disability
4. Product liability
5. Motor vehicle accidents
6. Wrongful death
7. Divorce and matrimonial
8. Veteran’s disability
9. Worker’s compensation

Whether it is the court that hires the vocation expert (as in cases before the Social Security Administration), or you have the opportunity to hire the expert for your client’s case directly, there are certain skills that lawyers typically look for in a vocational expert, and in this article, we will talk about three main skills.

If, after reading this article, you have additional questions about how our vocational expert or life care planner can assist you with your own cases, please contact us at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS). We have served as life care planners and vocational experts in a variety of cases. 

We are one of the most experienced employability and life care planning firms in the United States. To discuss your case, feel free to contact OAS with any questions at 1-800-292-1919 or through our contact form.

1. Qualifications 

The foundation of an expert’s credibility is his or her qualifications.  All of it starts there.  Thus, practicing lawyers who are dealing with vocational experts will want to carefully review the expert’s qualifications to see whether the expert really can credibly testify as to damages in a particular case.  Also, if a court brings on an expert itself, then the expert’s qualifications are going to be fodder for cross-examination, again to establish that the expert can credibly give the court helpful information about injuries and the number of damages.

2. Experience That Supports the Expert’s Testimony.

An expert’s professional experience is key. If the expert is testifying at a disability hearing, he or she will pull from sources such as the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, which is literally a dictionary of jobs in the national economy.  The Dictionary, however, can be sparse on details, and that is where the expert’s experience must come into play. 

Typically at a hearing, the judge or the attorney may pose hypothetical questions that the expert must answer using your own professional experience. The ability to take those hypothetical questions and give sufficient answers is important to solid, helpful testimony. Job trends are always changing, especially after the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. An expert witness must stay current and keep the economy in mind when evaluating or testifying.

In fact, experience in the field of expertise is important for any type of case.  The expert is the person courts look to in order to learn about vocations around the country and determining the worth of the case.

3. Evaluations That Distinguish You from Other Vocational Experts.

A firm will also check to see what an expert can offer that separates the expert from the pack. When it comes to Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS), we offer assessments in addition to vocational evaluations that are at no additional cost. We not only review all of the medical records and other important documents and conduct a standardized diagnostic vocational interview but also actually test the injured person using the most “state of the art” techniques, including a computerized measurement of aptitudes and abilities. 

The ability to test both English and those who don’t speak English is an added benefit as well. In a country of many languages, a language barrier does not interfere with the ability to use our services. 

We also provide an estimate of the loss of earning capacity, which includes an assessment of average fringe benefits, at the conclusion of each Vocational and Earning Capacity Report. All of these capabilities distinguish our vocational experts from the rest.

Choosing the Right Vocational Expert Is Important

A vocational expert’s job description is to have considerable knowledge of jobs within the national economy, the skills required, current job trends, labor market conditions, and professional earning capacity. They are a crucial component of any case. They allow lawyers to know the value of their case if hired by the firm. In a case where there are damages, a vocational expert can help you obtain a case verdict that your client deserves. 

A proper vocational expert can help an attorney prepare for being in front of a judge by giving a proper evaluation for an upcoming hearing.  They should work in conjunction with attorneys to evaluate the employability, earning capacity, and future long-term medical needs of severely injured persons.

How Can Occupational Assessment Services Help?

The experts at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS) have over forty years of experience documenting the income potential and employment capacity of those with wrongful termination cases, as well as with the underemployed, unemployed, and disabled spouses in many types of cases.

The company is a nationwide leader in vocational evaluations and life care plans. We can assist attorneys in evaluating earning capacity in divorce cases and document the damages in cases where an individual has been severely injured by providing objective findings on how the injuries affect a persons’ ability to work and earn money, as well as the cost of care required in catastrophic injuries. We also do court testimonies and depositions, review medical evidence, perform economic damage presentations, and utilize demonstrative evidence. When it comes to Social Security hearings, OAS expert witnesses have the experience with disability hearings and knowledge of Social Security law to successfully represent you in your appeal.

We have offices in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Nevada, and California. Additionally, we offer video conferencing. 

Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. is one of the most experienced employability and life care planning firms in the United States. To discuss your case, call us at 1-800-292-1919, contact us at a location near you, or through our online form.