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Workplace Disability: About Vocational Expert Witnesses

According to official statistics, around 8.5 million people in the US receive disability benefits.

As a business owner, it is important to be aware of the process involved when a vocational expert witness is hired. This article will briefly look at what a vocational expert witness is all about.

What is a vocational expert witness?

A vocational expert witness is hired to appear at a disability hearing to testify about the illness or injury of the person making the application. An expert witness will tell the court how that individual might be able to participate in the economy, based on their injuries and their prior work experience. The vocational expert witness is an independent third party.

What does a vocational expert witness do in a disability hearing?

A vocational expert witness must explain the nature of the condition and answer questions on it. They will also offer an opinion on the kinds of jobs an employee can do, and whether any specific duties might be impossible to perform.

Vocational expert witnesses more accurately assess whether an employee deserves disability benefits. If someone cannot participate in the economy at all, they should receive substantial benefits. However, if a person is able to work at a reduced capacity or in a different job, they might only need a partial income supplement.

What questions might a vocational expert witness be asked?

Once a vocational expert witness gives their initial testimony, they face questions from both attorneys. There are a few questions that tend to come again and again during this type of questioning.

We’ve looked at a couple of key examples below:

  • The applicant’s work history.

The expert witness will first have to look at work history. The attorneys will ask whether any of the jobs on the list are suitable for a worker, given their disability.

  • What the applicant might be able to do in the future

The witness might also be asked what other jobs might be suitable for the applicant. They will be able to say whether any role they know of might suit the applicant, given their experience and the extent of ability.

Consult with a vocational expert for an assessment.

The best way to make a vocational expert witness work for you, rather than against you, is to undergo a vocational assessment beforehand. This will give one a better understanding of the nature and severity of the illness or injury.

If you want to speak to a vocational consultant, the vocational experts at Solutions Northwest Inc. can help. Contact us today to learn more about what’s involved in the process.

Our vocational experts are involved in personal injury, workers’ compensation, and family law.

If you need our guidance, our legal experts are ready to guide you through the process.

Contact us today to make an appointment.

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Contact the Vocational Consultants at Solutions Northwest Inc. Below:

Multiple Locations

Corporate Office: 120 State Ave. NE #397
Olympia, WA 98501
Business Hours: 8am-5pm M-F
Corporate FAX: 360-866-4773

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