If you have a client who suffered a severe injury, one of the primary considerations as you assess the value of their claim is whether they can return to their job. This concern may be compounded if the client has sustained damages that render them unable to work in any field. In this article, we discuss how an Employability Evaluation can be an invaluable tool when presenting a case to an insurance company or jury.
What is an Employability Evaluation?
An Employability Evaluation assesses an injured party’s ability to either resume work in their chosen career or obtain employment in another field. The assessment is conducted by a respected expert who can provide objective, quantifiable evidence of the impact of the injury on the victim’s employability.
Expert witness testimony by vocational rehabilitation consultants and employability experts is common in litigation involving loss of employability and earning capacity claims. An employability evaluation can assist the plaintiff or defense attorney in objectively documenting the victim’s damages.
What does an Employability Evaluation Consist of?
The Evaluation consists of the following components:
- A detailed document review, including the injured party’s education, training, employment, and medical records;
- An analysis of the client’s work history and transferrable skills;
- A vocational diagnostic interview with the client; and
- Objective vocational testing
Combining these components enables an employability expert to form an opinion regarding the injured party’s current and future employability and earning capacity.
The Benefits of an Employability Evaluation
When presenting a personal injury claim, an attorney must often rely on the testimony of physicians and other medical professionals to establish their client’s damages. Even if a doctor deems a person partially or totally disabled, insurance adjustors and juries are left to determine how the disability impacts the victim economically. This can result in very subjective damages awards.
An experienced employability expert can minimize or eliminate these subjective assessments by providing objective parameters for quantifying vocational damages. Using data from local job markets and established economic indicators, the expert can provide comprehensive reports that either facilitate settlements or persuade juries of the extent of the victim’s vocational damages.
In all cases, the effective use of employability experts depends on their credibility and experience. OAS experts have extensive education and training in employability evaluations and are regularly accepted as experts in federal and state courts across multiple jurisdictions.
What Type of Cases Require an Employability Evaluation?
An employability expert can provide an invaluable expert opinion in the following cases:
- Personal Injury
- Slip and Fall
- Premises Liability
- Occupational Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Worker’s Compensation
- Wrongful Termination
An Employability Evaluation may also be helpful in a family law matter if one spouse seeks alimony, and their earning capacity is not well-established. A consult with a knowledgeable employability expert can help you determine if an expert opinion would be useful to your client’s damages claim.
What type of injuries should an Employability and Earning Capacity Evaluation be performed on?
If an injury has severely impacted a person’s ability to perform their job or gain employment in another field, an Employability Evaluation can be helpful. Severe injuries often include brain bleeding and trauma, neck and spinal cord damage, broken and fractured bones, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, burns, vision or hearing loss, and emotional or psychological harm.
Required Records for an Employability Evaluation
To fully assess an injured party’s ability to return to work, an employability expert will need to review the following records: hospital records, especially discharge summaries and operative reports; treating and/or consulting examining physician’s reports; employment records; and wage information such as Income Tax Returns, W-2 wage statements, or Social Security earnings statements.
Consider Retaining an Employability Expert
While an employability expert’s opinion does not bind a judge or jury, it can be highly persuasive. Grounded in extensive research and precise analysis, these experts provide objective, quantifiable measures of vocational damages. Our experience shows that using employability experts in litigation results in more beneficial settlements and jury verdicts.