Do I Need a Vocational Expert for my Medical Malpractice Case? Yes, You Do.

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medical malpractice case

In any type of personal injury matter, particularly medical malpractice, your case is about damages.  And proving damages is the best way that you can obtain compensation, or obtain compensation for your clients, that is commensurate with the extent of the injuries suffered.

In too many cases, especially those involving personal injury to children, attorneys fail to emphasize the extent of damages in terms of the ability of a person to earn a living once he or she becomes an adult.  That is where you, and your client, would greatly benefit from employing the services of a vocational expert.  

In medical malpractice cases, in particular, a vocational expert witness is invaluable in showing the extent of damages suffered by an individual.  Accordingly, in this article, we will discuss the ways in which a vocational expert can prove the number of damages a person suffers in a medical malpractice case based on an inability to earn money in the future.  

If you have additional questions about incorporating vocational experts into your medical malpractice case after reviewing this article, we invite you to contact us at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. – OAS.  We can provide life care planning for lawyers.  

We are one of the most experienced employability and life care planning firms in the United States.  To discuss your case, call us at 1-800-292-1919, contact us at a location near you, or through our online form.

Medical Malpractice Cases are Special in Some Ways 

With regard to most personal injury matters, a judge or jury can, most times, easily understand how the injury occurred, and what disabilities may likely result from an accident.  Medical malpractice cases, however, are slightly more sophisticated.  

Usually, in a med mal case you are dealing with specialized medical terms, unfamiliar procedures, and lots of health jargon that is found in reports and other documents.  That means that you have a lot more work to do to educate the judge and/or jury about how the injury occurred, and what the injury means for the victim going forward.

Moreover, you need to educate the jury on how severe medical injury is on that person’s life.  Oftentimes, attorneys do not realize that they need the assistance of a vocational expert to demonstrate the resulting medical malpractice damages.  In that way, a vocational expert can help you as the attorney prove:

1. How the medical injury will impact your client’s ability to function.
2. How the injury will impact the client’s ability to hold down a job, and the kind of job available to the client.
3. How significantly will the client be able to earn a living in the future.  

Indeed, the power of having a vocational expert is to be able to quantify a person’s damages, and back that up with documentation and expert testimony.

What are Some of the Metrics that Vocational Experts Use?

Vocational experts are able to make the connection between the medical evidence proving the injury, and the economic and vocational data showing what the injury means for a person’s ability to work.  

The tools that medical malpractice vocational experts use include:

1. Assessment of a person’s vocational capacity.
2. Analysis of current marketplace of jobs available.
3. Review of jobs that can be performed based upon a person’s range of workability given the medical injury.
4. Lost wages and future wages evaluation.

All of those tools, then lead the vocational expert to arrive at a “bottom line” damages figure of loss of future earning capacity.

Medical Malpractice Case StudyThe Infant Patient

In one case that our organization handled, we provided expert services in the case of a two-month-old baby who suffered from dehydration due to the negligent conduct of the professionals in a New York City hospital.  The baby was initially misdiagnosed with bronchopneumonia when admitted to the hospital.  Yet, because the hospital failed to note the child’s urine output, which was against accepted medical practice, the child suffered severe dehydration to the point that she was almost in hypovolemic shock.  Sadly, the child suffered permanent injuries including mental retardation and mild cerebral palsy.

An OAS medical malpractice vocational expert provided valuable evidence in the case.  The expert showed the kinds of jobs the child would be able to perform in adulthood, given her injuries, and then compared that to what the child would have earned into adulthood had she not sustained her injuries due to the hospital’s negligence.  The result was a substantial, yet appropriate, damages award for the plaintiff in the case.     

Let OAS Be the Medical Malpractice Vocational Expert for Your Next Case

Many attorneys fail to realize the importance of properly documenting damages in a case.  Sometimes, all emphasis and energies are placed on the initial hurdle of liability, and the impact of the injury on the client’s ability to work and earn money is ignored.  A good damages preparation may help to strengthen a case once liability has been established.  To date, vocational experts have been used in a wide variety of cases.  Their expertise can benefit personal injurymedical malpractice, product liability, workers’ compensation, matrimonial, age discrimination, and wrongful termination cases.

The experts at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS) have over forty years of experience documenting the income potential and employment capacity of those with wrongful termination cases, as well as with the underemployed, unemployed, and disabled spouses in many types of cases.

OAS specializes in working with the plaintiff or defense attorney to assist in objectively documenting the economics in a case.  From the initial referral to the trial testimony, OAS works with the retaining attorney so that the vocational assessment of the case can be objectively and efficiently presented. 

OAS has served as experts on many multi-million-dollar outcomes including a record-setting $102 million verdict in a NY catastrophic injury case. Through objective consulting, analysis, and vocational testing, we specialize in assisting attorneys in documenting damages.

We strongly believe in the importance of a clear and understandable presentation of the facts.  OAS is the leading provider of Vocational Expert and Life Care Planning Services for Plaintiff and Defense attorneys. 

The company specializes in assisting attorneys in evaluating earning capacity in divorce cases and documenting the damages in cases where an individual has been severely injured by providing objective findings on how the injuries affect a persons’ ability to work and earn money, as well as the cost of care required in catastrophic injuries.

OAS is your Vocational Expert & Life Care Planner Nationwide, with offices in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Nevada, and California.  

Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. is one of the most experienced employability and life care planning firms in the United States.  To discuss your case, call us at 1-800-292-1919, contact us at a location near you, or through our online form.