Her name was Jane, and she was a truck driver. She had been making deliveries in her region for five years, and she was saving up to be able to drive better more lucrative routes. On one sunny day in May, Jane walked into a big retail store to make a delivery. She did not see the grease spill by the store, so she slipped and was never the same again.
Her slip and fall caused her to suffer a ruptured disc in her spine, along with injuries to her neck and shoulder. The injuries were so severe that Jane was unable to go back to her job as a truck driver, and she suffered from chronic pain ever since.
The retail store tried to settle the matter early and provided Jane with an offer in the $400,00 range. Luckily, Jane was smart to bring in a vocational expert in her case, and bring the case to trial. That trial resulted in a multi-million dollar award – several million of which went to economic damages.
In this article, we are going to talk about how the use of a vocational expert could help change the value of a case from a possible ten of thousands in damages, to millions.
If, after reading this article, you have additional questions about using a personal injury vocational expert, we invite you to contact us at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. – OAS. We have served as vocational experts in Social Security disability and as well as many types of cases.
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 Issues in Jane’s Case
To understand how a personal injury vocational expert would work in the context of a slip and fall case, let’s turn back to Jane’s slip and fall trial. In her case, the issues came down to whether the retail store was even liable, and if so, how much in damages did Jane suffer.
1. Establishing Liability
In many slip and fall cases, the biggest question is whether the property owner had a duty to the person who slipped and fell. With regard to the retail store in Jane’s case, the duty it owed to Jane was the duty to protect people against any hazardous condition that it knew about, or should have known about. That is because the retail store is open to the public.
The grease spill was a hazard that the jury found the retail store should have known about. In fact, the most important piece of liability evidence in the case was a citation from the Township where the store was located. The citation indicated to the store the existence of the grease spill. Thus, the store knew about the hazardous condition and failed to act.
2. Establishing Damages
Once it becomes clear in a personal injury case that the person, or company, that owed a duty of care to the victim breached that duty, and the breach of that duty caused the victim’s injuries, the next step is to figure out the extent of the injuries – that is where the personal injury vocational expert comes in.
A personal injury vocational expert has a particular specialization in figuring out how to value the loss to a person who is injured in an accident.
That analysis requires particular expertise with regard to the physical requirements of many types of jobs, and the availability of jobs in the marketplace.
Specifically, it is relatively easy to figure out what a person’s medical bills are. Also, based on an injury it can be quantifiable to figure out how much long-term rehabilitation will be needed, and how much it might cost.
The bigger question becomes: How can you value the loss of someone’s ability to do a job. There are many subjective qualifiers that go into such an analysis. That is why personal injury vocational experts are so important.
A vocational expert will be able to look at a person’s physical limitations after an accident and determine what type of job, if any, that person could still perform. Then, the expert will do a market analysis to figure out whether any of those jobs exist in the market.
The expert will then couple that with the past and future lost wages the victim will suffer.
Taking Jane’s case as an example, Jane can no longer be a truck driver. Thus, not only has she lost future wages for her chosen career, but it might be likely that Jane will not be able to command the salary she once did because of her injuries. An expert can quantify all of those losses.
To Conclude – A Vocational Expert Could be Vital to Proving Damages in Your Personal Injury Case
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.
OAS has served as experts on many multi-million-dollar outcomes including a record-setting $102 million verdict in a NY catastrophic injury case. Through objective consulting, analysis, and vocational testing, we specialize in assisting attorneys in documenting damages.
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.