What is a Vocational Evaluation in a Workers’ Compensation Case?

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vocational evaluation in a workers’ compensation case

There a lot of competing interests when it comes to a workers’ compensation case. That is what makes workers’ compensation a rather complex area in which employment law and insurance law intersect.  

If you have been injured in a work accident and have made a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, then you need to know a little about vocational experts and the purpose of a vocational evaluation for workers’ compensation purposes. Accordingly, in this article, we will discuss the details of what a vocational expert does, and what you should keep in mind when it comes to being evaluated through a vocational evaluation in your workers’ compensation case.  

If, after reviewing this article, you have additional questions about vocational experts in general, we invite you to contact 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.

What Does a Vocational Expert Do?

Vocational experts are typically individuals who serve as authoritative voices in the areas of vocational rehabilitation, earning capacity, lost earnings, and cost of replacement labor. While vocational experts are normally not attorneys themselves, they typically have graduate degrees in counseling or psychology, and frequently are asked to provide expert testimony in disability, personal injury, and workers’ compensation cases. A vocational expert can either support a claim for economic damages or to refute a plaintiff’s claim for such damages.  

Of course, to be an expert who testifies in court, the vocational expert must be able to establish his or her credentials through state certification and licenses. Those who normally do not testify in court but have graduate degrees in counseling or psychology and assist with vocational evaluations are considered vocational “consultants.” 

When it comes to gathering information with which to testify in court or to consult with interested parties on a case, the vocational expert will conduct a vocational evaluation in a workers’ compensation case. The interview will try to determine information, including:

  • The extent of the injury;
  • The amount of time needed to recover;
  • The limitations on the person’s ability to do work ion the future;
  • The available jobs in the region based upon the person’s physical limitations.

In addition, a vocational evaluation also could include an economic assessment in which the vocational expert will: 

  • Learn the person’s earnings prior to the accident causing injury;
  • Estimate, based on the injury, what the person will likely earn following the accident;
  • Calculate the value of the expected earnings over time;
  • Find the difference between the injured person

What You Need to Know About the Vocational Evaluation Process.

As noted earlier, there are some competing interests going on in a workers’ compensation case. You, as the injured worker, will want to maximize the amount of workers’ compensation benefit you receive with regard to both money and length of time in receiving the benefit.

On the other hand, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company has an interest in doing what all insurance companies do – minimizing the amount of money they have to payout. Finally, your employer has an interest in having you back to work so as not to have to make changes to cover your duties while you are out.

Those interests, therefore, might lead the insurance company to hire a vocational expert to interview you in order to obtain information that might lead to a lower compensation benefit.  Of course, if you hire a workers’ compensation attorney, then that attorney may hire a vocational expert as well to interview you with the goal of obtaining information to maximize your compensation benefit.

With all of that going on, the best advice for you – the person being evaluated – is, to be honest.  Try not to let the person conducting the vocational evaluation for your workers’ compensation lead you with your answers too much. The goal of the evaluation is to assess your earning power. So, without embellishing, be honest about your limitations, your injury, and your capacity to do physical work.

After a vocational evaluation, the expert will generally provide job listings that will fit your physical limitations.  If you are required to interview for those positions, be sure that you do attend those job interviews and take note of precisely what physical demands will be for the job.

The key here is to show that you have done your part to try to re-enter the workforce if your case ever comes before a workers’ compensation judge.

Overall, if you are seeking workers’ compensation benefits then it is a good idea to contact a vocational expert to learn more about how you can protect yourself following a workplace injury. 

OAS – The Vocational Experts You Can Rely On

If you have workers’ compensation matters and need a vocational expert. Consider OAS for the job.  

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. 

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.