Can you answer these questions?
1) What impact do the injuries have on the client’s ability to function?
2) How will the injuries affect the client’s ability to work?
3) What impact if any is there on the client’s ability to earn money?
When an attorney represents a client, assessing damages comprises a large part of the case. Unfortunately, many attorneys may not have a comprehensive understanding of how to properly document the losses incurred by a client, and thus liability often becomes the attorney’s primary focus when building a case. While liability is an integral aspect of a lawsuit,
the loss of the ability to earn an income can at times be more devastating to a client than identifying where the fault lies.
Once liability has been established, vocational experts can assist in building a strong case assessing damages by detailing the client’s loss of income. Loss of income can be quantified in these circumstances: 1) the individual returned to work but may be working less hours, 2) the individual has returned to the employer but is now working in a different capacity and earning less than in his former position, 3) the individual is working but for a different employer and at a different lower-paying job, or 4) the individual may no longer be able to work due to his/her injuries.
When evaluating non-disabled individuals, such as in a matrimony case or a wrongful termination case, the vocational expert’s evaluation process does not differ from that conducted for those with limitations such as personal injury, ERISA, Workers’ compensation or Social Security Disability cases.
When evaluating individuals with a disability, whether a wrist fracture, knee injury or spinal injury, for example, the same methodology is applied. In addition, in order to assess an individual’s ability to be around others and/or to perform job tasks at a satisfactory level, his/her emotional or psychological conditions must be evaluated. A vocational expert can measure non-exertional impairments -- psychological, emotional, and psychiatric – and determine how they might affect an individual’s employability and ability to earn an income.
Vocational experts are used in a wide variety of capacities to document the damages sustained by an individual where loss of the ability to work and/or loss of income have occurred due to an accident or injury. For example, vocational experts assist the court with issues relating to personal injury, Mass Tort, premise liability, product liability, matrimonial cases, Social Security disability, Veteran’s cases, employment law, whistle blower cases, age discrimination, wrongful incarceration, wrongful termination and Workers’ compensation.