Using a Vocational Expert in a Spinal Cord Injury Case

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Spinal cord injuries often cause life-long severe disability. They are often traumatic for injured individual as well as for the family of the survivor.  Spinal cord injury cases are delicate matters and can be complicated, requiring many experts to help prove damages. Individuals with spinal cord injuries will generally need rehabilitation services, caregivers, and various medical treatments far into the future. An experienced attorney should use a vocational expert and life care planner to help demonstrate these needs to jurors.

Loss of earning capacity is one of the types of damages in a spinal cord injury claim. A vocational expert will testify about how much of the injured individual’s expected lifetime earnings will be lost due to the spinal cord injury. Survivors who retain some upper body control may be able to work, but often at a lower paying position,  part time, or with a reduced work life.  Many spinal cord injury survivors cannot return to work. Some return to work eventually, but only after months or even years of recovery.

A vocational expert will show the jury what the injured individual would have expected to have earned over his or her lifetime without the spinal cord injury. The expert will then show how much money the survivor will lose due to the injury. This monetary amount will depending on the job the injured individual held prior to the injury. If the survivor was not working prior to the injury, but was for example a stay-at-home parent taking care of children, the amount it will now cost to hire someone to do the household services may be taken into account.

In addition to loss of earning capacity, life care costs, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life will also be considered in the damages portion of the personal injury lawsuit.

Edmond Provder, a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, has over forty years of experience providing vocational and life care plan evaluations. Mr. Provder is the owner of Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS), one of the top companies providing vocational expert services in the United States. Contact OAS at 800-292-1919 to discuss your spinal cord injury case today.   He was involved in the Verni vs. Aramark case where a jury awarded $135 million.