The Role of Medical and Vocational Experts and the Economist in Proving Future Loss of Earning Capacity

Proving the expected loss or impairment of future earning capacity often requires the coordination of expert opinion of a medical doctor, a vocational rehabilitation expert, and an economist.

The medical doctor is first asked to describe the claimant’s medical limitations, and the expected duration of those limitations. The vocational rehabilitation specialist will then use the claimant’s medical limitations, additional vocation testing (such as intelligence and dexterity tests), and the expert’s knowledge of the various job requirements to predict the highest paying job the claimant will be able to hold. The vocational expert will estimate the pay of that job and the expected pay of the claimant if he or she had not been disabled.

The economist will then be asked to reduce this future loss of wages to a current fair market value. An economist may testify concerning the monetary value of an injured party’s economic losses as long as the predictions are based upon: (1) reasonable certainty, and (2) the best available evidence.

The use of three different experts will be expensive but is the most accurate calculation of a future partial loss of earning capacity.

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