Using A Vocational Rehabilitation Expert In Your Car Wreck Case

Injury sustained by a negligent act due to someone else’s carelessness can leave you without the ability to earn income and provide for your family.  Negligence sets the stage for litigation to make sure you get rewarded what your earing potential before your accident would have been, and what your earning potential is now.  Because this involves several factors, you need an expert that specializes in partaking in parts of this kind of litigation.

The expert in question is known as a Vocational Rehabilitation Expert.  According to one source, “A Vocational Rehabilitation Expert is an authority in the areas of vocational rehabilitation, vocational and earning capacity, lost earnings, cost of replacement labor and lost ability/time in performing household services. They perform evaluations for purposes of civil litigation, as an aspect of economic damages.”  This means that a vocational rehabilitation expert is going to help you figure out what you would have earned prior to the accident in relation to what you can earn after the accident, in order to come up with a value of those two earnings over time.  This ensures the earning potential you have is clearly understood, leaving no room for error while you are going through litigation to be awarded your earnings.

A Vocational Rehabilitation Expert is qualified to testify in court as part of your litigation proceedings.  In order to do this, one must be certified by the state and have a license.  These experts often have a graduate degree in counseling or psychology plus the appropriate licensure and certifications.  This makes them an expert, and it allows them to legally testify on your behalf.  This is as opposed to a Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant who cannot testify in a court of law.

In addition to testifying about the financial matters regarding your vocational earing capacity, an expert will be able to testify about the nature of your disability, should one exist.  This means that they can speak to how the injuries from your accident affected your ability to perform your job function, including what jobs you can or cannot perform and what your limitations are.   This means that the Vocational Rehabilitation Expert can help speak to what your true abilities for earning income are due to your accident.  This will further back the claims made in litigation by the expert about your earning potential and affect your potential reward settlement.

Vocational Rehabilitation Experts do not just skim the surface of your job functionality.  They will dig deep when providing testimony to support the case your lawyers are arguing.  This includes questions about your work history; the expert will classify each prior job to determine if you can do them and what transferable skills may exist.  Also, the Vocational Expert will testify in a series of hypotheticals.  This means they will answer what if questions about your ability to do your job to help make your case.  These hypotheticals are based on your documented injuries.  For example, if your documented injuries show inability to lift objects over a certain weight, the vocational expert may be asked about situations where this task may be needed.  These questions will be based on your prior job history discussed earlier, transferable skills, and your current job.  The Vocational Expert will have to show that in these hypotheticals you are unable to perform what ifs because of your documented injury.  In the example of lifting certain poundage, the expert will have to testify in your ability to do this, taking all that has been discussed already into consideration. Thus, having a Vocational Expert as a witness is imperative to the success of your case.

The knowledge and expertise of a Vocational Rehabilitation Expert should not be understated.  They arguably have the most important position in your litigation, which is determining your potential lost wages settlement amount.  They do this through careful mathematics based on current work and potential future earnings given your injury.  They then testify on your injury and how it affects your ability to earn income.  In addition, they help the court to understand your work history and transferable skills.  This is done to argue hypothetical situations to prove you cannot perform certain tasks associated with your skill set and job prior to the accident.  This expert testimony provides your lawyers with key information to argue so that you get the lost wages settlement you deserve, according to the letter of the law.


Andre Belanger

Andre Belanger


André Bélanger, a graduate of Loyola University, is a highly-respected criminal defense attorney serving the people of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and surrounding areas of Ascension Parish and New Orleans, for one of Baton Rouge’s top-25 law firms. In his 15 years of practicing law, Mr. Bélanger has handled thousands of criminal cases at both the pre-trial and trial stage, including approximately 200 trials. This trial experience includes homicide defense and prosecution, large drug conspiracies and fraud cases making Bélanger one of the few attorneys capable of handling even the largest, most complex federal cases.

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