When a vocational expert is called to testify in a personal injury or disability case, two of the most important services he or she can provide are vocational assessment and evaluation. According to the Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange (CIRRIE), at the University at Buffalo-SUNY, “vocational assessment is defined as the global appraisal of an individual’s work/training background, general functional capacities, and social/behavioral characteristics.”
What is a Vocational Assessment?
While they may sound similar, a vocational assessment and a vocational evaluation are two different things. A vocational assessment typically includes “an evaluation of medical factors, psychological makeup, educational background, social behaviors, attitudes, values, work skills, and abilities.” But the term “vocational evaluation” refers to the specific process involved in appraising characteristics of a person’s related to the type of education and training necessary to obtain and maintain employment. A vocational evaluation usually includes a thorough review of “specific work characteristics, including but not limited to occupational interests, specific job skills, worker traits, general intelligence, temperaments, physical capacities, strength, range of motion, and other work-related functions and aptitudes.” A number of domains are also considered as part of a vocational evaluation, which may include (but not be limited to) “personal factors such as personality, interests, intelligence, cognitive capacities, educational achievement, personal adjustment, social adjustment, interpersonal skills, and work-related factors such as work experience, vocational adjustment, vocational aptitudes, and work behaviors, [and] situational factors such as “medical, psychiatric, psychological, cultural, social, recreational, vocational, educational and environmental needs.” The vocational evaluation usually involves testing to assess the Plaintiff’s aptitudes and vocational capacity.
A vocational evaluation is a continuous process that must be maintained throughout vocational rehabilitation. The levels of severity in disability cases can vary greatly, so a variety of vocational assessment methods and processes are often used to get a true picture of the vocational capacity, employability, and earning capacity of the injured person as documented in the vocational evaluation and testified by the vocational expert.
Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS) is one of the top companies providing vocational expert and life care planning services for permanent injury cases in the United States. We have over 45 years of experience in performing the vocational evaluations of plaintiffs who have serious permanent injuries. Contact OAS at 800-292-1919 to discuss how we can help with your motor vehicle accident, personal injury, and/or medical malpractice case.