Vocational expert testimony is becoming increasingly common in litigation involving claims of loss of employability and earning capacity. Vocational expert services are traditionally used in Social Security, Disability Determination, Worker’s Compensation, and Personal Injury cases, but are also becoming popular in Wrongful Termination and Divorce cases. Attorneys are turning more frequently to vocational expert witnesses to establish economic damages because vocational experts help eliminate gray area using well-documented opinions and years of experience in a highly specialized field.
Vocational experts provide objective, quantifiable measures of vocational damages based on extensive testing, labor market research, and precise analysis. More frequently, vocational evaluations are being considered to be persuasive to courts and effective in facilitating equitable solutions.
How a Vocational Expert Can Make a Difference
Personal injury cases often rely on medical testimony to establish the degree of a person’s disability. Even in cases where a doctor asserts a person is totally disabled and unable to work, attorneys, judges, and juries might be left to make judgments that are ultimately subjective about what that means in economic terms. On the other hand, a qualified vocational expert can testify and eliminate or minimize the gray zone in such cases by establishing objective parameters for quantifying vocational damages, such as the extent of residual employability and loss of earning capacity in the local labor markets.
If an injured plaintiff relies solely on an economist’s testimony about the projected loss of earnings using analysis of economic statistics, the testimony will lack particulars about the injured party’s unique circumstances. A vocational expert can compare the injured individual’s education, background, and skill to that of similarly situated or disabled individual’s to project their chances of attaining employment.
In divorce petitions, employability is often a key factor in establishing alimony and child support. Unfortunately, earnings capacity projections frequently rely on the widely divergent opinions of the parties. But if a vocational expert is retained, these earning of each party can be more accurately and fairly established, avoiding a circumstance where one spouse is unjustly left with the majority of a support obligation.
Non-vocational expert opinions can leave substantial room for interpretation. A vocational expert should be utilized to objectively document a loss earnings claim in personal injury cases or to input income on one party in a divorce case. A vocational expert’s comprehensive reports, tests, and experience can make a huge difference in establishing and justifying accurate damages to a judge or jury.
Vocational Expert Services
Occupational Assessment Services, Inc., (OAS) is one of the top companies providing vocational expert services in the United States. We have offices in NJ, NYC, FL, TX, and CA. Contact us at 800-292-1919 to discuss establishing damages in your case.