What Should You Look for in a Vocational Expert?

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vocational expert

“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.”  

That famous quote from Nobel Prize-winning atomic physicist Niels Bohr says it all when it comes to the notion of “experts.”  Most people would agree that when someone is deemed to be an “expert,” we assume that the person is separate or different from a regular person.  And while an expert in any field most likely has a great deal of education and smarts, it is also true that they are just people who have learned virtually all there is to know about a particular specific area.  

All of that is to say, that you should not be daunted by the term “expert,” but you should be aware of how powerful expert testimony can be in any legal case you may have, whether it is a personal injury, workers’ compensation, employment law, or wrongful death matter.

In this article, we will talk about the advantages of hiring a vocational expert for your case, whether you are the plaintiff or defendant.  Then, most importantly, we will cover what characteristics you should look for in a vocational expert.   

If, after reading this article, you have additional questions about incorporating vocational experts into your legal case, we invite you to contact us at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. – OAS.  We have served as vocational experts in many types of cases. 

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.

Why Use a Vocational Expert?

A vocational expert is someone who has expert-level knowledge of various types of employment and can draw conclusions on a person’s capacity to perform a job based on education, physical and mental ability, and many other factors.  So, for example, if you are involved in divorce litigation, having a vocational expert explain why your spouse is currently under-employed and is able to pay additional familial support, or is capable of joining the workforce, will give you a strategic advantage in the litigation.  

Having a vocational expert testify on your behalf will also help the fact-finder, whether it is a judge or jury, understand the evidence, and put it in the context of your case.  

In addition, if your adversary in litigation has a vocational expert, then obtaining one on your side will ensure that your adversary does not enjoy a strategic advantage.  

What Characteristics Should You Look for in a Vocational Expert?

First and foremost, you and your lawyer need to look for a vocational expert to have extensive practical experience related to helping people with vocational capabilities and drawing conclusions from market data.  That is, of course, the basis for any vocational expert’s opinion. 

In addition, there are three other skills/attributes that are important to find in a vocational expert:

1. Jury appeal.  A judge or jury will have a favorable response to a vocational expert who both has practical experience with determining an individual’s ability to work and the facility for explaining their research and conclusions clearly.

2. Solid communication skills.  Somewhat related to jury appeal, experts deal with information that is not in the regular experience of most people.  Thus, a vocational expert who can break down sophisticated concepts into understandable component parts is vital.

3. Confidence.  A trial is an adversarial process.  That means that any witness, including expert witnesses, will be cross-examined.  That means that the vocational expert must have the confidence in his or her conclusions to be able to stand up to scrutiny by the opposing side.

Let OAS Be the Vocational Expert for Your Case

Many attorneys fail to realize the importance of properly documenting damages in a case.  Sometimes, all emphasis and energies are placed on the initial hurdle of liability, and the impact of wrongful termination on the financial future of a service member and his or her family members is not well established.  A good damages preparation may help to strengthen a case once liability has been established.  To date, vocational experts have been used in a wide variety of cases.  Their expertise can benefit from personal injury, wrongful deathmedical malpractice, product liabilityworkers’ compensation, divorce, age discrimination, and wrongful termination cases.

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. 

OAS has served as experts on many multi-million-dollar outcomes including a record-setting $102 million verdict in a NY catastrophic injury case. Through objective consulting, analysis, and vocational testing, we specialize in assisting attorneys in documenting damages.

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.