What Goes Into a Vocational Evaluation?

May 4th, 2020
vocational evaluation

You may not be very familiar with the concept of a vocational expert. However, a vocational expert is vital to any serious personal injury or disability case.  

As you may expect, when someone suffers a severe injury in a car accident, the person must show the jury with tangible evidence of how his or her life has been impacted. While it can often be very clear to understand that someone is suffering if the person is in court with a cast on his leg, or a brace on his back, or is in a wheelchair. However, it is another thing to prove that someone cannot work, or has a limited capacity to do work.  

The same is true if someone is applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The Administrative Law Judges who are responsible for determining whether someone is putting forward a legitimate disability claim, that person needs more than their own testimony to prove that he can no longer do the job he was doing before an accident or illness. 

Vocational Assessments & Vocational Evaluations

Vocational experts are the people who are called upon to provide that necessary proof in a disability or personal injury case. Specifically, courts and Administrative Law Judges look to vocational experts to provide two services:  (i) to conduct a vocational evaluation and (ii) to provide a vocational assessment.  

While an “assessment” and an “evaluation” sound like they are the same thing, they are actually a little different. A vocational evaluation is a specific process that a vocational expert will undertake to arrive at his or her expert opinion about a person’s ability to pursue a job or vocation. Relatedly, but not the same, a vocational assessment is the end result of the expert’s vocational evaluation. In other words, a vocational expert must first conduct an evaluation in order to arrive at an assessment.

In this article, we will go into some detail about how a vocational expert conducts a vocational evaluation. If, after reading this article, you have more questions about a vocational evaluation for your own personal circumstances, then we welcome you to talk to 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.

There are essentially four parts to a vocational evaluation.  

1. Conducting an Interview
2. Administering Vocational Testing
3. Engaging in Market Research
4. Putting it All Together

1. Conducting an Interview

The first step a vocational expert will take is to meet with a person in a personal injury or disability case. The expert will spend time with the person gathering information with regard to the person’s employability. Thus, the questions during the interview will cover a vast range of topics from work history and life experience to medical history, age, time away from work, level of education, career interests and goals, motivation to get back to work.   

The expert will also be interested in the person’s family and personal situation. Including, stressors of having children at home, or elderly parents who may need care. Without question, the interview process is comprehensive, so that the vocational expert can truly understand a person’s life before an accident, and his or her potential and desires subsequent to the accident or illness.

2. Administering Vocational Testing

Armed with information about the person’s life and work, the expert will then ask the person to take a number of tests to assess the person’s employability. Those tests may include:

1. Coordination and dexterity
2. Basic abilities and aptitude
3. Academic and job skills
4. Personality and job interests
5. Values when it comes to work

The vocational testing helps the expert figure out the person’s so-called work-trait profile.

3. Engaging in Market Research

Once the expert has an in-depth understanding of the person’s work values and abilities, the next step is to look out at the world to see what types of vocations will fit with the person’s work-trait profile. Accordingly, the expert will do intensive labor market research to find a fit for the person with regard to earnings, qualifications, job title, and training requirements in a particular geographic area.

4. Putting it All Together

All of the work by the vocational expert above leads to the final step of the evaluation, which is making sense of all of the information gathered. In other words, the expert will integrate his or her observations, the medical and psychological reports, the labor market research, testing results, and diagnostic information. The integration will result in an opinion that the expert will present to the jury in a personal injury case, or to an Administrative Law Judge during an SSDI hearing.

In sum, the vocational evaluation process is rather involved and requires a great deal of training and experience on the vocational expert’s part. If you need a vocational evaluation, be sure to go to someone who has experience with conducting comprehensive evaluations.

Let OAS Prepare a Life Care Plan or Vocational Evaluation in Your Case.

OAS specializes in working with the plaintiff or defense attorney to assist in objectively documenting the economic damages in a case. From the initial referral to the trial testimony, OAS works with the retaining attorney so that the damages 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 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.