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. Ultimately, the rules of evidence in the jurisdiction presiding over the civil case prevail.
BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY
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.