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The Role of a Vocational Expert: What Every Business Needs to Know

The Role of a Vocational Expert: What Every Business Needs to Know

Accidents of any kind are complicated for everyone involved. When it’s a workplace accident, the process during and after the accident can be difficult to navigate as an employer.

Lasting workplace injuries can affect an employee’s ability to return to work and you may be liable for a payout to help cover their disability expenses if they cannot. You will need to be able to prove that the injured employee can continue working in the same or new position.

The first thing you should do is hire a vocational expert if you do not already retain the service of one. Vocational experts have experience analyzing injuries and workplace environments and deciding on compatibility.

Read on to learn what a vocational consultant can do for you.

What is a Vocational Expert?

When people suffer permanent disability, it can be hard for them to go back to work, or find jobs that they can do. Many people may take it upon themselves to receive a financial settlement where they sustained their injuries. In disability trials, a vocational expert witness is an excellent resource to give a professional assessment of the capabilities of the injured worker.

Vocational experts also examine job sites to determine if the injured worker can continue in their previous role. They can also make recommendations for new positions. In some cases, they may also make suggestions for improvements or ADA accommodations that employers can add that will allow employees to continue to work.

Assessing an Employee’s Ability to Work

At disability trials, an employee will have the opportunity to go into detail about their injury and disability. Once that’s done, a vocational expert will be given the chance to render their vocational evaluation.

The judge will ask the vocational expert their thoughts about whether the employee will be able to continue their job. If the expert finds that the employee can continue in their old job, the employee’s claim is denied.

However, if the vocational expert determines that they cannot continue their job, the judge will ask the expert if they believe there are other jobs they can do. An evaluation of your job site can help inform the expert’s decision. If they find that job site improvements will help the employee, they will make these suggestions during the trial.

If a vocational expert finds that there is work an employee can do with their disability, their claim will be dismissed.

Opposing Counsel’s Cross-Examination

Once the vocational expert renders their forensic vocational evaluation, the employee’s counsel will have the chance to ask their questions. The goal of opposing counsel will be to discredit the suggestions the expert gives. They will try to create hypothetical situations that could impact their client’s disability.

If the expert can find solutions to meet the employee’s needs, it reduces the chances of the employee winning their case.

Stay-At-Work Solutions for Your Business

If you have a pending disability lawsuit, a vocational expert can be a great aid to help make your workplace more accommodating. Expert vocational testimony can help by providing their experience on an employee’s ability to work.

If you need the services of a vocational expert, worker compensation, family law, or personal injury, contact Solutions Northwest Inc. – we have a team of vocational experts and consultants who are qualified to render expert advice. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

At Solutions Northwest Inc., our vocational experts are involved in  ADA Accommodations , personal injury, workers’ compensation, and family law.

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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

Seattle, WA


Olympia, WA


Portland/Salem, OR


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