Vocational Rehabilitation Expert Definition

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A Vocational 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.

Vocational experts identify what the person could have earned prior to the incident, compared to what they are likely to earn following the incident. Economic experts calculate the value of those earnings over time, so the difference, if any, between the two income streams is clearly understood. Those who act as vocational/economic experts blend the two disciplines, and offer testimony in both arenas.

A vocational "expert" is designated by an attorney as an expert who testifies in court, whereas a vocational "consultant" does not testify. Qualifications to testify in court as an expert in the field of vocational rehabilitation are fairly strict and related to State certification and licensure. Typically, a graduate degree in counseling or psychology plus certification/licensure will suffice.[1] Ultimately, the rules of evidence in the jurisdiction presiding over the civil case prevail.


Expert testimony

Opinion  evidence of  some person who possesses special skill or  knowledge in  some science, profession or business which is  not  common to  the average man and which is  possessed by  the expert by  reason of  his  special  study or  experience. Board of Ed. of  Claymont Special School Dist. v.  13 Acres of Land in Brandywine Hundred, Del.Super., 11 Terry 387, 131  A.2d 180,  184. Testimony given in relation to some scientific, technical, or professional matter by  experts, i.e.,  persons qualified to  speak authoritatively  by reason of  their special training, skill, or  familiarity with the  subject. Evidence of persons who are skilled in  some art,  science, profes­sion, or  business, which skill or  knowledge is  not common to their fellow men, and  which has  come  to such experts by  reason of  special study  and experience  in such art, science, profession, or  business. If scientific, technology, or other specialized knowledge will assist the  trier of  fact to  understand the evidence or  to  determine a fact in  issue, a  witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or  otherwise. Fed.EvId.R. 702, 703.  

Black's 2nd Edition Online