Vocational Experts have been used by attorneys who want to assess how a Plaintiff’s injuries affect their ability to work and earn money. These damages are crucial in helping a jury to determine compensation for the plaintiff’s losses.
What is an Employability & Earning Capacity Evaluation? It is an evaluation that is offered in a report or in testimony for the specific purpose of saying what an injured or disabled person’s ability to work and earn money, given the loss of their functioning, after an injury. This ability to function after an injury is known as the injured or disabled person’s residual functional capacity.
The vocational opinion is based on an objective finding from the medical records, other expert opinions and perhaps a face to face interview and testing of the injured person. The permanency of the injury is determined medically. The vocational opinion comes after knowing that the injury in an adult or child is not going to get any better or will have no improvement. Injuries that will heal without a long term impact like a fracture, shoulder dislocation, or knee problem that can improve with surgery are not typically cases that are litigated with vocational experts because the person’s difficulties are expected to be resolved with time. However, a fracture that causes a fusion or shoulder that restricts range of motion or a knee that causes the person not to be able to walk, squat or kneel are typical vocational evaluation referrals for litigation.
When the permanent injury negatively affects the Plaintiff’s ability to work at pre-injury levels or their old job is no longer an option a vocational expert can help determine the financial loss.
How Dr. Manges Evaluate Damages in a Personal Injury Case?
Dr. Manges has evaluated construction workers who can no longer lift or carry or use their non-dominant arm due to an injury and now have to find alternative less well paying work for their future work life. Dr. Manges has evaluated clerks and cashiers who have had a loss of a lower limb and cannot do the same standing they did before their loss. Dr. Manges has offered vocational opinions about workers who have lost an upper extremity or loss of vision and how that has impacted their ability to earn money into the future.
If the Plaintiff has been self-employed and reported minimal earnings, they too may need a Vocational Evaluation to demonstrate and establish their pre-injury versus their post earning capacity. Use of state and or federal government wage information is considered when the person’s personal tax filings are not extensive or otherwise not reflective of their actual earning potential.
Retirement age is considered. Sometimes injured persons, were it not for their injury would have continued to work past the typical or average retirement. For example the 65 or 67 retirement age for social security purposes may be an underestimate of the injured worker’s real work life expectancy if it wasn’t for their accident, the Plaintiff would have continued to work until age 70 or even later. This would add more years of work life expectancy to the loss of earnings claim and increases the need for a Vocational Expert.
Dr. Kenneth Manges is a Vocational Expert who has been qualified to testify on vocational wage loss in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. To see how Dr. Manges can assist you in documenting the damages in your Personal Injury cases consult with Dr. Manges by contacting him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Call 513-784-1333 for a proposal containing the expert’s professional qualifications, and fee schedule.