The Importance of Re-evaluating a Plaintiff Prior to Trial

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A plaintiff’s economic damages may be substantial due to his inability to work. In such a case, a vocational expert is critical to help to document the economic damages. Because it can be several years before a personal injury case actually reaches trial, it is also in a plaintiff’s best interest to be re-evaluated by a vocational expert right before trial. This allows the plaintiff’s attorney to present the most up-dated and recent information regarding the plaintiff’s current occupational status and the limitations imposed by the injury.

Not having the plaintiff re-evaluated could have serious negative implications. In one case, an injured 25-year old did not receive nearly as much in damages as he may have if he was re-evaluated by a vocational expert. The young man was involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in a head injury and right hemiparesis. A vocational evaluation conducted two years prior to trial indicated that he was unemployable due to his limited vocational capacity. Since the vocational evaluation was performed, however, he became employed as a part-time limousine driver. He was examined by an opposing physician and vocational expert. His own vocational expert was only told of the change in circumstances and shown the opposition’s reports minutes prior to giving his testimony. Because of this, when the injured plaintiff’s vocational expert was cross-examined, he appeared unprepared and less reliable. In this case, strong vocational evidence was blunted by a failure of the attorney to send the plaintiff in for a vocational re-evaluation, resulting in an incomplete vocational presentation and creating a less than maximum award settlement.

The vocational experts at Occupational Assessment Services have experience evaluating and re-evaluating clients at all stages of a trial. Our experience and familiarity with the litigation process allow us to use, apply and understand our labor market data to evaluation results to create an accurate damages assessment. Contact us at 800-292-1919 to discuss how a vocational expert can help your case.