What Exactly is a Vocational Expert Witness?
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Mon Jun 2018
- Personal Injury,
In a matter of seconds, your life could change forever. For years, you’ve prided yourself as the family breadwinner. Your employer has even applauded your attendance record. However, a catastrophic accident has altered your world. There’s no chance you’ll be ever to return to your old job. In fact, you may never be able to work again. What seems evident to you – may require proofs. And, that’s where a vocational expert steps in.
In some cases, your problems may arise from an on-the-job injury. Workplace safety is a serious issue, no matter what line of work you are in. The potential for a workplace injury always exists—whether climbing ladders on a construction site or regularly clicking away on an office computer. And no matter how much caution you use on the job, there is always a chance you might get hurt.
Imagine you work in a large retail store as a sales clerk. A customer asks you if the store carries a certain type of appliance that is not on the sales floor. You go into the storeroom to check the inventory. While you are searching for the item that the customer asked about, you are struck by a falling object. You didn’t see it coming. It is a heavy box, and you are knocked down. The box fell from an overhead shelf. As a consequence, you sustain a traumatic brain injury.
Fast forward past the months and months of medical care and rehabilitative treatment. As much as you have a hard time dealing with it, it appears you will never return to work. In order to prove the extent of your disabilities as they apply to prospective employment, your attorney may retain a vocational expert witness. These types of professionals provide expert witness testimony in workers’ compensation and liability cases and can help you receive the work-related injury benefits you deserve.
Common workplace injuries
In addition to being struck by a falling object, other common workplace injuries include:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Muscle strains, frequently sustained from heavy lifting
- Repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Crashes and collisions, including vehicular accidents
- Exposure to loud noises
- Inhaling toxic fumes
Who are vocational expert witnesses?
A personal injury attorney can hire a vocational expert witness to testify at your workers’ compensation hearing to help demonstrate whether or not you qualify for any type of employment. These expert witnesses are professionals who are knowledgeable about labor market conditions, the specifics of a range of occupations, and the impact that medical conditions can have on an injured person’s employability. They are typically certified rehabilitation counselors and have experience working with disabled persons.
The vocational expert witness is charged with offering an educated opinion on the longevity of the victim’s injuries and its impact on future job performance, as well as recommend needed workplace accommodations.
Only more serious cases generally qualify for the retention of a vocational expert. If your attorney sets you up to meet with a vocational expert, you will be required to go through a battery of tests. For example, some may deal with your hand-eye coordination – and dexterity. If you have language limitations, this will also become part of the evaluation.
Contact an Experienced New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered catastrophic injuries in an accident, contact Beninato & Matrafajlo Attorneys at Law for a free consultation. We have frequently worked with expert witnesses in personal injury cases who have had a critical role in helping our clients recover much-needed compensation.