The Impact of a Vocational Expert in a Personal Injury Case

vocational expertEvery personal injury case could benefit from the services of one or more expert witnesses. Unlike an average person who actually saw the incident occur, an expert witness is permitted to testify at a trial because of special knowledge or proficiency in a particular field that is relevant to the case.

A personal injury attorney should retain well-qualified experts who can evaluate and determine case damages. This applies not only in the medical, mental health and rehabilitation areas, but also in the capacity to enter or re-enter employment.

A vocation is an occupation to which a person is specially drawn or for which they are suited, trained, or qualified. Many people will spend a lifetime building up skills and education in a certain field, practice, or area of study.

A vocational expert is an authority in the areas of vocational rehabilitation, vocational and earning capacity, lost earnings, cost of replacement labor and lost ability/time in performing household services. They perform evaluations for purposes of civil litigation, as an aspect of economic damages.

What a Vocational Expert Does in a Case

A significant injury — whether that’s in a dog bite attack, truck accident, motorcycle accident, etc. — may result in a victim’s inability to perform their job. That loss may affect them for weeks or months, or in severe cases, the rest of their life.

An attorney working on your case may find it difficult to determine the total value of a case. While medical bills and long-term rehabilitation get the most attention, a victim losing their ability to making a living should also get full attention.

A qualified vocational expert has the job credentials to give opinions on current medical care costs, vocational and earning capacity, lost present and future earning capacity and cost of other replacement services. 

The expert will testify about the types of jobs an injured victim can do and the effect of an injury on a victim’s ability to perform any type of work. The expert may also provide testimony about the type of work a victim has performed in the previous 10 years, and whether there are other types of work they can perform despite the injury and/or disability.

Vocational experts are expensive — they charge a few thousand dollars for their testimony — and they represent only one type of expert witness you will need to present at your Washington state personal injury trial.

The Bridge Between Doctors and Economists

Vocational experts have a specific skill set that few others bring to the table. They use their knowledge of the job market and employment trends to support their findings as to the economic harm that the victim suffered due to their injuries. 

That link between medical treatment and economic loss is not an easy one to bridge. A skilled vocational expert can paint a complete picture of the damages and convince an insurance company or jury to pay what is appropriate.

Vocational experts are by no means required for a case. But when a victim’s earning capacity is in doubt — specifically in a high-paying or high-stress job — or the case involves injuries to a child or unemployed adult, the testimony of a vocational expert may be the key to bolstering the case.

Fight for Your Legal Rights

When you hire the right personal injury lawyer, they will understand whether your case would benefit from expert testimony, and they will know reputable experts they can call to help. They will also have the financial resources to hire experts.

If you were hurt in any type of accident in Washington state and think your claim could benefit from expert testimony, contact the attorneys at Davis Law Group, P.S., today. A attorney on our legal team will review the circumstances of your case to determine if you have grounds for a claim.

For a free case evaluation, contact us today at (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the form on this page to get started.

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Chris Davis
Award-winning personal injury attorney and founder of Davis Law Group, P.S. in Seattle, Washington.