There are a number of cases in which a person’s ability to essentially do work is a major issue, such as:
1. Divorce cases, in which you need to sort out the amount a person is able to pay in alimony and child support;
2. Personal injury cases, in which you need to figure out the amount an injured person deserves in future lost wages because he can no longer pursue the occupation that he had before the injury;
3. Disability cases, in which a judge needs to understand the extent of a person’s ability to do the physical labor of any kind.
In any of those cases, you would be wise to have a vocational expert on your side to provide credible testimony as to what a person’s ability to do work is or can be. By the same token, you need to be prepared to effectively cross-examine a vocational expert hired by the opposing counsel, to challenge his or her calculations and conclusions.
Accordingly, in this article, we will discuss the 6 questions you should be sure to ask your vocational expert, and more importantly the vocational expert who is on the other side of the courtroom.
If, after reviewing this article, you have additional questions about vocational experts in general, we invite you to contact us at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. – OAS.
We are 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.
The Questions for Vocational Experts
Not all experts are created equal. While the word “expert” suggests that someone is the best in their field, so much so that they can educate the rest of the courtroom on a certain subject, you might be surprised to learn that some are not as thorough as they should be.
If you have tried cases, you know that the best way to test someone’s actual expertise is to ask some probing questions.
Thus, here is the list of 6 questions that you should ask vocational experts on cross-examination to find out whether they did as thorough a job as the title “vocational expert” would suggest.
1. Have you met the injured party in person or remotely?
One of the main aspects of a vocational expert’s analysis is in making observations of the person who claims to be disabled, or unable to work. An analysis is complete when the vocational expert evaluates and assesses an injured party’s level of pain, overall physical condition, mental condition, and temperament.
2. What documents or other information have you reviewed with regard to the subject’s past education, employment, and prior earnings?
A thorough assessment of someone’s vocational abilities and options requires some indication of the person’s educational background, employment history, and salary history. To be thorough, a vocational expert must no only take the subject’s word for it, but also must look at documents such as:
1. Tax returns and W2s
2. Personnel files and performance evaluations
3. School transcripts
4. Social security benefits received
5. Licenses and certifications
3. Do you know if there have been gaps in the subject’s employment history?
Gaps in a person’s work history can speak volumes about a person and his or her earning capacity in the future. Of course, some gaps in work history, like taking time off to have children would have a low impact on someone’s future earning capacity. Yet, other reasons such as previous illness, incarceration, or termination for poor performance need to be reviewed.
4. Did you do a transferable skills analysis?
A transferable skills analysis (TSA) allows a vocational expert to better understand whether a person has a number of vocational options, or whether his or her opportunities are limited. A vocational expert would be vulnerable on the stand, and his or her credibility would be in question if a TSA was not performed.
5. Did you do a labor market analysis?
By the same token, the value of a vocational expert is in his or her ability to understand the labor market in a particular field, and in a particular part of the country. Thus, though a particular subject might be highly skilled with high earning capacity, he or she could still be limited by the lack of available jobs in a reasonable commuting distance.
6. Which vocational tests did you administer?
Vocational experts are armed with many tests to determine intelligence, aptitudes, interests, and retraining options. A vocational expert who does not take advantage of such tests will also reveal vulnerabilities for that expert on the stand.
In sum, you should be sure to keep these 6 questions in your pocket when you are ready to cross-examine the other side’s vocational expert and prepare your own expert with these 6 questions as well.
OAS – The Vocational Experts You Can Rely On
If you have personal injury or employment matter and need a vocational expert. Consider OAS for the job.
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
OAS specializes in working with the plaintiff or defense attorney to assist in objectively documenting the economics in a case. From the initial referral to the trial testimony, OAS works with the retaining attorney so that the vocational assessment of the case can be objectively and efficiently presented.
We strongly believe in the importance of a clear and understandable presentation of the facts. OAS is the leading provider of Vocational Expert and Life Care Planning Services for Plaintiff and Defense attorneys.
The company specializes in assisting attorneys in evaluating earning capacity in divorce cases and documenting 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.
OAS is your Vocational Expert & Life Care Planner Nationwide, with offices in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Nevada, and California.
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.