A plaintiff obtains many clear benefits of utilizing a vocational expert. A vocational expert’s testimony creates a full circle depiction of damages and could be the key to a faster settlement and a more accurate damage award.
However, it is equally important for the defense in a case to have a vocational expert’s testimony as well. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes defendants make is failing to do preparation on the damages portion of a case, the portion where a vocational expert’s testimony is most relevant. If the defense does not retain their own vocational experts, the plaintiff’s vocational expert’s testimony will not be contested.
One way a vocational expert helps the defense’s case is by testifying in regard to the accuracy of the plaintiff’s vocational expert’s opinion. That said, it would be a mistake for the defense to only retain a vocational expert if or because the plaintiff has one working on their case. If the plaintiff does not have a vocational expert, the defense should have one to determine what employment a plaintiff is physically able to pursue and whether the plaintiff can or cannot pursue post-injury employment (i.e. the jobs that can be performed and how much the plaintiff can earn). A vocational expert is most qualified to make such a determination, especially compared to an economist.
The defense should retain a vocational expert if it does not accept the plaintiff’s claims with respect to post-injury employment. The opinion of a defense vocational expert with respect to earnings, post-injury benefits, and perhaps loss of household services, can be incorporated into an economic loss analysis prepared by the economist retained by the defendant.
The vocational experts at Occupational Assessment Services have been evaluating damages in various cases for over forty years. We have worked for both plaintiffs and defendants in personal injury cases. Call us at 800-292-1919 to discuss how we can help with preparation of damages for your case.