When someone claims that they can “no longer work” because of a severe car accident, or because they suffer from a disability, there needs to be a person who can make sense of that phrase.
At first blush, the idea that someone can “no longer work” might make some kind of intuitive sense. Yet, given the nature of the various options we have for “work,” the notion that someone can “no longer work” becomes a little too vague upon closer inspection.
Indeed, the concept of “work” covers any number of activities for remuneration from working on an assembly line to being a brain surgeon, and everything in between. Therefore, we need someone who is a “vocational expert” who can arrive, with some scientific precision, at conclusions with regard to a person’s ability to work based on their limitations, and based on the number and types of jobs available in a particular region of the country.
The two circumstances in which a vocational expert is most needed is in personal injury cases and disability cases. Accordingly, in this article, we will discuss the importance of vocational assessment services in both personal injury and disability matters.
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.
Vocation Assessment Services – Personal Injury Cases
Once it is determined that the defendant’s negligence resulted in the injuries suffered by the plaintiff, the most important determination in a personal injury case is the number of damages the plaintiff should receive. Simply stated, once a person is injured – possibly permanently injured – due to an accident, the question of how to financially compensate for that injury is the paramount question.
In finding a measure of a person’s economic damages due to an injury, the concepts of “lost earnings” and “lost earning capacity” become prominent concepts. That is to say that a jury needs to note what a person was making in his or her career before the accident, and what the person is capable of earning after the accident.
That is, of course, where you need an expert to provide a vocational assessment of the injured plaintiff. The vocational expert needs to evaluate a person’s entire life to arrive at an accurate, defensible vocational assessment. That means that the expert must understand the person’s interests, abilities, physical capabilities, and prior work history. It also requires a review of medical records, an in-depth interview with the injured person, and an assessment of the person’s educational background.
Finally, the vocational assessment must include a look at the job market in the person’s commutable region. Thus, a vocational expert will be able to inform the jury both on what a person is now able to do post-accident, and what jobs are available to him or her.
Though a “vocational assessment” might sound like a rather technical type of evidence in a personal injury case, it really is the most important information to help a jury come to an economic damages number in a personal injury matter.
Vocational Assessment Services – Disability Cases
Vocational assessments play a similar role in disability cases as well. As you likely know, many people who file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are denied after they make their initial disability application. That should not deter you, however.
A vocational assessment expert can help you ultimately obtain SSDI benefits.
Many times, the Social Security Administration will review your work history and your medical reports, and then it will conclude that you are capable of performing previously held jobs. Hence, you will get an initial denial. During an appeal of that denial, however, a vocational expert will get to take a close look at your abilities. The expert will then be able to provide quantifiable results (based on your background, education, work experience, and physical limitations) to show that you are, in fact, unable to perform jobs that you previously held before the disability.
Is a Vocational Assessment Always Necessary?
If you have a personal injury or disability claim, your attorney will ultimately make that determination. Yet, vocational experts are typically utilized in both types of cases because the evidence the expert provides both prior to trial and as a witness at the trial or hearing is invaluable. It can provide much needed persuasive material when juries are otherwise hard-pressed to make distinctions about earning capacity without help. Also, with complex cases, involving confusing medical information, an expert will emphasize those things that are most important.
OAS – The Vocational Experts You Can Rely On
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.